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Bacterial Vaginosis; Lifestyle Tips.

The Culprit Behind Vaginitis

The vagina normally contains lots of "good" bacteria called lactobacilli plus a few other types of bacteria called anaerobes. Too many anaerobes can cause bacterial vaginosis, although health care professionals are not certain why the anaerobe bacteria overgrow and cause this infection. If you experience any symptoms-abnormal, odorous vaginal discharge-see your health care professional. The condition is easily treated with antibiotics such as metronidazole or clindamycin.

Douching Increases Risk for Vaginal Infection

Douching is often promoted as good hygiene. But, in fact, it can cause vaginal infections. Researchers at Michigan State University found that douching tripled a woman's risk of developing bacterial vaginosis. The researchers analyzed vaginal samples from 496 women for signs of the infection and found that women who reported douching in the two months prior to the study were three times more likely to have the infection. The reason: Douching disrupts the natural ecology of the vagina.

Sexual Activity Linked to Bacterial Vaginosis

Having a new sex partner or having multiple sex partners raises your risk of developing bacterial vaginosis, though researchers are not certain why. Scientific studies suggest that BV is common in American women during their childbearing years. However, women who have never had sexual intercourse are rarely affected. Of course, using condoms can reduce your risk of developing bacterial vaginosis and other types of sexually related diseases.

BV: A Special Risk for Pregnant Women

While bacterial vaginosis (BV) is little more than an annoyance that can be easily treated then forgotten, women who develop BV while pregnant are at increased risk for delivering their babies prematurely. If you are pregnant and have had a new sex partner or multiple sex partners, ask your health care professional about getting screened for BV. If your test is positive, ask your health care professional to discuss the pros and cons of antibiotic treatment during pregnancy.

Male Partners Do Not Benefit from Treatment

Although researchers believe BV is linked to sexual activity, most studies show no benefit to treating the male sexual partners of infected women. Researchers at the Moses Cone Family Residency in Greensboro, N.C., analyzed the medical literature and determined that although BV recurs in 30 percent of infected women, there is no medical evidence that treating male partners of patients with recurrent BV improves cure or recurrence rates.


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Keywords: bacterial vaginosis, bv, douching, pregnant, male partners
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Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Bacterial Vaginosis
Date:Jul 20, 2005
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