What Is Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis?

If you are reading this article, I am sure you want to know what recurrent bacterial vaginosis is. Well, to understand what it is, you need to first understand how you can get bacterial vaginosis, what it is all about and how you can actually get recurrences. I bet you are interested to know more about it because you either feel you have some of the symptoms associated with it or someone probably scared you with some bizarre stories. One thing you need to understand is that to get recurrent bacterial vaginosis, you need to have had a primary infection before!

What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is an infection of the vaginal tract and surrounding tissues caused by a number of microorganisms. Unlike what most people think, bacterial vaginosis does not occur as a result of infection with a single pathogen. Most bacterial vaginosis infections are polymicrobial. However, bacterial vaginosis can be cured. In fact, in most cases, bacterial vaginosis is self limiting; that is gets cured on its own. No medical treatment is actually needed. Having said that, there are a few exceptions as always.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis can often be missed or misinterpreted. The most common symptoms include a vaginal discharge with a fishy odor, and itchiness and redness around the genital area. While the fishy odor characterizes bacterial vaginosis, itchiness and redness are non specific symptoms of any type of vaginal infection. Thus, this may lead to confusion as to what is that actual cause of your vaginal infection. Also, even understanding the cause of the vaginal discharge can be confusing. Other types of vaginal infection, for example vaginal candidiasis, caused by yeast, also produce discharges but of a different consistency. Proper identification of bacterial vaginosis is therefore essential. The reason is simple. Different causes of vaginal infection are treated differently. Thus, the management of bacterial vaginosis is different. However, as mentioned previously, medical treatment is rarely needed.

When Is Treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis Needed

There are 2 main reasons why people look for a treatment for bacterial vaginosis: recurrence and inability to cope with the symptoms. First, let us talk about the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. While, the disease in itself rarely causes any physical discomfort, its symptoms can be quite disturbing psychologically. Many women cannot cope with the idea of a fishy discharge coming out of their body. The itchiness associated with bacterial vaginosis is also often poorly tolerated. While bacterial vaginosis may get cured on its own, some women might seek homemade/medical treatment to get rid of those disturbing symptoms.

Some women might be able to cope with the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. However, they might not be able to do so for too long. This is the case in recurrent bacterial vaginosis which can occur over and over again.

What is Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis?

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis occurs when a woman experiences the symptoms periodically, that is symptoms come and go. During the absence of a current infection, the woman may not feel any symptoms at all. However, the disease may reappear much later and symptoms reappear. Some people may therefore find it difficult to cope with the way bacterial vaginosis progresses.

There are a number of causes of recurrent bacterial vaginosis. One of the most common is inadequate treatment. While medical treatment is rarely needed for a primary infection, it is definitely needed if you get recurrent infections. A decreasing immunity level as present in diabetes or HIV also predisposes to recurrences and increase in the duration of each episode.

Other postulated causes of recurrent bacterial vaginosis include the use of homemade vaginal douches and unsafe sexual practices or the use of intrauterine contraceptive devices. However, it is to be noted that bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease.

Recurrent bacterial vaginosis can be quite disturbing and can lead to a number of complications which include pelvic inflammatory disease and spontaneous abortion. Therefore, it is essential to identify the symptoms related to the infection and be able to report recurrences to your doctor. This will ensure adequate treatment and guarantee you a normal to high quality of life.

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