There is vaginal bacteria in the interior of the vaginal canal. Although these organisms are normal and are present in all women, the imbalance of these bacteria can create conditions such as vaginitis. Yeast organisms, vaginal bacteria, and other conditions can result in vaginitis. Bacteria in itself is neither harmful nor problematic. In fact, bacteria perform a helpful function within various areas of the body.
There are several types of bacteria that inhabit the vagina. The most common of these is lactobacilli, also known as good bacteria. Usually, the lactobacilli outnumber the bad bacteria called anaerobes. If the anaerobic bacteria become more plentiful than the good type, the balance is upset. The resulting condition is called bacterial vaginosis.
Let’s go on with this story. The symptoms of BV may include a white or grayish discharge with a foul odor from the vagina that’s particularly noticeable after sexual intercourse. The discharge may be more obvious in amount, color and smell. There may be some light bleeding from the vagina, along with painful burning and significant itching. Urination may become painful.
It’s important to note that vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease, although symptoms may be stronger after intercourse. BV is more likely in women with multiple sexual partners, a new partner or who use an IUD (intrauterine device). Women who douche also have a higher incidence of bacterial vaginosis.
Preventative measures include avoiding hot tubs, spas and whirlpool baths. Careful rinsing and drying of the vaginal area after a shower may help. Don’t douche. Wear cotton undergarments and pantyhose with a cotton crotch.
Complications with the overgrowth of vaginal bacteria aren’t usually serious, except when the woman is pregnant. Then prompt action should be taken to bring the bacteria population back into balance. Prescription medications are anti-bacterial or fungicide in the case of yeast infections.
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