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Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a condition caused by an imbalance in the bacteria (the “flora”) of the vagina. A negative shift in the normal vaginal flora can result in an abnormal discharge and/or an unpleasant vaginal odor.

What are the symptoms?

Frequently the first symptom is a “fishy” smelling discharge. Also, you may notice a thin white, beige, or grey discharge. Often the symptoms are more noticeable after unprotected intercourse and during monthly menses. Some women don’t have any symptoms.

Who can get bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal problem in women between the ages of 15-45, but women of all ages can get bacterial vaginosis.

How do I contract it?

There are multiple ways the normal vaginal flora can be disrupted. Antibiotics, douching, poor diet, smoking, sex without a condom, and sex with multiple partners can disturb the good flora (lactobacilli) in your system.

Can I prevent it?

Maintaining a normal vaginal pH is vital to preventing bacterial vaginosis. Taking a daily probiotic can help restore the good bacteria balance and prevent overgrowth of bad bacteria for long-term prevention. Also, eating yogurt and other lactobacillus-cultured foods is important in keeping a balanced flora.

How is bacterial vaginosis treated?

An oral medication or vaginal suppository can treat an episode of bacterial vaginosis, but long-term prevention is best with probiotics and a healthy diet.

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