Common bacterial vaginosis symptoms are a discharge from the vagina which can be of varying colors, odors, and consistencies and itchiness or discomfort of the vagina. Typically symptoms worsen following sexual intercourse.
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common infection of the vagina. Normally the pH of the vagina is kept at an acidic level by lactobacilli bacteria which helps control the growth of other types of bacteria which are always present.
When the number of lactobacilli decrease or are not able to keep the pH level of the vagina at the appropriate acidic level, the pH rises and other types of bacteria (often Gardnerella and Peptostreptococcus) begin to increase in numbers.
Serious complications may arise from untreated bacterial vaginosis infections. These include inflammatory disease of the pelvis and various infections during pregnancy.
Bacterial vaginosis symptoms:
- white, clear, cloudy or yellow vaginal discharge
- foul smelling vaginal discharge
- itchiness of the vagina
- discomfort of the vagina
- worsening of symptoms following sexual intercourse
Diagnosis is typically through physical examination. A sample of the discharge may be examined to help identify the bacteria causing the infection.
Treatment is typically with antibiotics, either orally or in gels or creams. Gels which lower the pH of the vagina and restore proper acidity levels to control bacterial growth are also sometimes used. Infections typically are cured within a few days of treatment.
Typically prevention is possible by ongoing good personal hygiene practices and keeping the vaginal area dry by wearing absorbent clothing.