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Recurrent bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a specific inflammation in the vagina – it is a type of vaginitis which occurs when an overgrowth of bacteria normally present in the vagina upsets the natural vaginal balance of certain bacteria. Sometimes women with bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms and only discover the condition during annual routine exams. Some women suffer from recurrent bacterial vaginosis with severe unpleasant symptoms.

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis causes

Exact causes for recurrent bacterial vaginosis are not clearly identified but there are several factors which can trigger the reccurency:

  • Vaginal bacterial imbalance – disturbed balance between “good” and harmful bacteria that live in the vagina;
  • Sexual activities – it was noted that multiple partners and unhygienic practices could be responsible for recurrent bacterial vaginosis.

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis symptoms

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis

  • Vaginal discharge – grey, milky white or yellowish;
  • Vaginal odor – strong unpleasant “fishy” smell which becomes stronger after sex or during menstrual period;
  • Vaginal burning and burning sensation during urination;
  • Sometimes vaginal itching or soreness.

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis diagnosis

Main confirmation of bacterial vaginosis is done in laboratory – through the microscopic assessment of vaginal discharge.

Sometimes the potassium hydroxide test (so called “whiff test”) also can be done in which potassium hydroxide is mixed with sample of vaginal discharge. Appearance of specific “fishy” smell considered as a positive test.

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis treatment

Main treatment strategies include therapy with antibiotics, lifestyle changes including specific diet, temporary abstinence, avoiding douching and chemical baths.

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis prevention

Steps that may be taken to help reduce the risk of recurrent bacterial vaginosis include:

  • Correct use of prescribed medication without any interruption – stopping the could cause bacterial resistance to the antibiotic and will increase the possibility of the disease recurrence;
  • Temporary abstinence during whole treatment – although treatment of partners is not recommended (in usual cases) but doctor could consider assessing the partner (in cases of recurrence) and possibly recommending additional treatment;
  • Limitation of sexual partners;
  • Avoid douching and vaginal chemical products (harsh/scented soaps and detergents);
  • Practice proper vaginal and general hygiene;
  • Never forget wiping from the front of the vagina to the back in order to prevent recurrence of bacterial vaginosis – same strategy should be used after a bowel movement;
  • Contraceptive cervical caps and other medical applicators should be cleaned thoroughly before and after each use to prevent the spread of bacteria;
  • Avoid menstrual hygienic tampons which can promote bacterial growth and harm the vaginal cavity;
  • Wear panties rather than thongs which may increase the possibility of transferring bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
  • Use only cotton pads and liners – synthetic materials make the genitals warm and moist because they prevent air circulation.


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