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Bacterial Vaginosis; Prevention.

Numerous factors may be associated with vaginal infections. Although no single factor has emerged as a primary cause, experts say healthy diets and behavior are the best medicine. Minimizing stress also is important.

One of the more disturbing aspects of bacterial vaginosis (BV) is that the infection frequently returns after treatment. About 30 percent of women have a recurrence within three months of treatment. While the reasons for recurrent BV are not well understood, long-term maintenance treatment is not recommended.

However, you should take all prescribed medicines as recommended to decrease the likelihood of recurrence. Continue taking the medicine as you've been directed even if your symptoms disappear.

One cause of recurrent BV may be that even after the harmful bacteria that replaced the "good" bacteria is gone, the "good" bacteria have trouble growing back in the vagina.

Most women with recurrent BV infection respond well to therapies that help maintain the ratio of "good" to "bad" bacteria in the vagina. One such therapy is metronidazole gel (0.75 percent) for 10 days followed by an application twice a week for three to six months.

Here are some tips that may decrease the risk of BV or recurrent BV:

Don't douche. Douching upsets the normal pH balance of the vagina.

Avoid unnecessary contact with the rectum by wiping front to back after urination

Avoid sexual contact with someone who has a sexually transmitted disease; use condoms if you're uncertain

Avoid local irritants such as bubble baths, harsh soaps, feminine hygiene sprays, and deodorant tampons, all of which can affect the normal pH of the vagina.

Try a vaginal moisturizer after sexual intercourse or after your period

Reduce semen exposure (which can affect the vaginal bacteria balance) by using condoms

Don't smoke.

After a few weeks of therapy for BV, ask your health care professional to retest you for the infection.

If you develop BV three or more times in a year, talk to your health care professional about alternating medications or using intravaginal metronidazole as a prophylactic for six months

References

Bacterial Vaginosis. National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.4woman.gov. Updated May 2005. Accessed September 2005.

STD Facts: Vaginitis (Most Common Causes: Yeast Infection, Trichomonas, Bacterial Vaginosis)." Minnesota Department of Health. 2004. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Prevention Information Network (NPIN). http://www.cdcnpin.org. Accessed September 2005.

"Bacterial Vaginosis." Feminist Women's Health Center. 2002. http://www.fwhc.org. Accessed September 2005.

Lactobacillus Organisms and Bacterial Vaginosis. Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. Updated May 19, 2004. http://www.sjmercyhealth.org. Accessed September 2005.

Secor, R. Mimi. "Bacterial Vaginosis." Clinician Reviews. 11(11):59-68, 2001.

Yen, Sophia, et al. "Bacterial Vaginosis in Sexually Experienced and Non-Sexually Experienced Young Women Entering the Military." Obstetrics & Gynecology. 102(5):927, November 2003.

Rakel, Robert, and Edward Bope, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2004: Latest Approved Methods of Treatment for the Practicing Physician. 56th edition. St. Louis: Saunders, 2004. Page 119.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2002. MMWR 2002;51(No. RR-6)

"Vaginitis Due to Vaginal Infections." National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Health Matters. October 2004. http://www.niaid.nih.gov. Accessed September 2005.

Connett, H. What you need to know about bacterial vaginosis. STD Advisor, 1999; Vol. 2. Insert.

The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C. National Academy Press, 1997.

Bacterial Vaginosis--CDC Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov. Last updated: May 2004. Accessed September 2005.

Bacterial Vaginosis. American Family Physician, March 15, 1998. http://www.aafp.org. Accessed September 2005.

Bacterial vaginosis and preterm birth: a comprehensive review of the literature. J Nurse Midwifery. 43(2):83-9, Mar-Apr 1998.

Urinary Tract Infections in Adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC). NIH Publication 04-2097. November 2003. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov. Accessed September 2005.

Keywords: bacterial vaginosis, bv, treatment, lactobacillus, lactobacilli, women
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Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Bacterial Vaginosis
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 14, 2006
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Previous Article:Bacterial Vaginosis; Treatment.
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