If you thought yeast infections, UTIs, and the occasional STD were the only traumatizing things that could happen to your vagina, think again! You might be unfamiliar with what I like to call a yeast infection’s sister – bacterial vaginosis. “Bacterial what?” I know, like we really need another infection to add to our already long list of things your vagina can catch. Bacterial vaginosisis a common vaginal infection in women that has very similar symptoms to yeast infections or even just to regular irritation. It is not an STD, yet unprotected sex and having multiple sex partners are leading causes of this infection.
Symptoms of BV are very similar to those of a urinary tract infection – an itchy, painful vagina, increased amount of vaginal discharge, fishy odor, and a burning sensation when urinating. At the same time, it can be more subtle than that – just a weird smell and a little extra discharge that you think could be normal. No lie: BV is annoying, stressful, and uncomfortable – and it can happen very often for some young women. To help you out, I conducted a lot of research on how you can prevent BV… and I found some pretty interesting facts in the process. Here are eight unexpected things no one ever tells you about bacterial vaginosis:
You Don't Have To Be Sexually Active To Get ItJust because you're a virgin doesn't mean you're safe from bacterial vaginosis. Although your chances of getting BV are low, other habits of yours can still throw off your pH levels, resulting in the infection. Wearing tight pants, non-cotton underwear, and wiping your vagina the wrong way are all things that can cause you to get BV. Maybe you've never had vaginal sex, but you're into oral sex. Receiving oral is another way to cause overgrowth of bad bacteria in your vagina, leading to you getting BV. Source: iStock
Some Women Don't Experience Any SymptomsA scary thing about bacterial vaginosis is that sometimes you don't experience any symptoms at all. Some cases of BV are not as severe as others, so some girls won't experience any smelly discharge or vaginal itching. However, not treating bacterial vaginosis can lead to serious health problems such as, pelvic disease, increased risk of STDs, or early birth (if pregnant). If you are unsure if you have BV, keep an eye on your vaginal discharge's consistency and smell, and ask you doctor for to take a swab of your discharge if you're concerned. Source: iStock
Males Are CarriersA guy can carry bacterial vaginosis, but it won't affect him - so he'll basically every know he's carrying it. He can then pass it on to you without either of you realizing what's happening, since it won't show up in an STD test. Be extra careful to be safe... which brings us to our next point... Source: iStock
Unprotected Sex and Multiple Partners Can Increase Your RiskNot using condoms increases your risk of getting bacterial vaginosis - mixing up your private parts with someone else's without any kind of protection at all is a fast way to get yourself BV. And while there's nothing wrong with hooking up with a lot of people, if you have multiple sex partners, and if any of have them been exposed to BV, your chances are of contracting it are very high. Source: iStock
Recurrence Can Happen Several Times A YearIf you don't take any precautionary measures such as probiotics or properly cleansing your vagina, you can get bacterial vaginosis several times a year. BV is considered recurrent when a woman gets it four times in one year. Pay close attention to symptoms, take a probiotic, clean your vagina only using water, and always practice safe sex to avoid getting BV. Source: iStock
Cleaning Your Vag Too Much Can Cause ItIf you frequently douche, hoping it will make your vagina smell like flowers, think again.The use of douches is for cleaning vaginas, but actually, douching increases your risk of getting bacterial vaginosis. The water and other ingredients used when douching gets rid of all the good bacteria in your vagina, leaving you with all of the bad bacteria you don't want. When a vagina only has bad bacteria, an overgrowth of yeast occurs, resulting in heavy, smelly discharge. Stick to using only water to clean your vagina. Source: iStock
Taking Probitotics Can Help Prevent BV From HappeningTaking a probiotic supplement can help prevent you from getting bacterial vaginosis. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are really good for your health because they contain the good bacteria that your body needs. Taking a probiotic supplement daily can definitely prevent an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which can ultimately prevent BV. Probiotics aren't just great for your digestive health, they're also super helpful in keeping the bad bacteria out of your vagina. Try this probiotic to prevent getting BV. But talk to your doctor first! Source: iStock
It Is The Most Common Vaginal Infection Out ThereBacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection for women ages 15-44. Since the symptoms of BV are very similar to a yeast infection, most girls self-diagnosis their symptoms and dry treating their infection themselves. The use of over the counter yeast infection medicine for BV actually further worsens the infection, causing really painful symptoms. If you have any signs of an infection down there, go to your gynecologist or primary physician and get checked out. The doctor will perform the appropriate tests to determine which vaginal infection you have. Source: iStock
Have you ever had bacterial vaginosis? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!