Bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections are extremely common. They occur when the “good” bacteria that naturally occurs in the vagina is offset by other types of bacteria, resulting in inflammation and infections. Hormonal changes may also contribute to this. The inflammation is generally referred to as vaginitis. Bacterial vaginosis is a specific type of vaginitis.
“Bacterial vaginosis is very common, and it’s also easily treatable. If you are having any of the symptoms described here, we encourage you to schedule an appointment. Because there are many different types of vaginitis, it’s important to have an examination that will enable us to prescribe the most effective course of treatment,” said Dr. Ann Miller.
What is vaginitis?
Vaginitis is an umbrella term for several different types of vaginal infections. While specific symptoms depend upon the particular type of vaginitis, in general, most women experience vaginal itching, soreness and a foul-smelling discharge. (Mayo Clinic)
What are the different types of vaginitis?
The most common are bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections and trichomoniasis.
What causes bacterial vaginosis?
Lactobacilli are the type of “good” bacteria found in the vagina, but there are other types of bacteria that can multiply and upset the balance. When this imbalance occurs, it can cause an overgrowth of other organisms and result in an infection.
What Are the Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis?
Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:
- A change in the type of vaginal discharge.
- Discharge resulting from bacterial vaginosis may have a fishier odor that is more noticeable after sex. The discharge is often grayish-white.
- Vaginal irritation
- Painful intercourse
- Painful urination
How Is Bacterial Vaginosis Diagnosed?
We make a diagnosis by performing a pelvic exam where we can examine the area for inflammation. We’ll then collect a sample of discharge for lab testing. Sometimes, pH testing is used by applying a pH test trip to the vaginal wall.
How is Bacterial Vaginosis Treated?
Bacterial vaginosis is treated using medications. The most commonly used are Flagyl, Cleocin or MetroGel. We’ll discuss with you which of these medications would be most effective for you.
How Can You Avoid Bacterial Vaginosis?
Many types of vaginitis, including bacterial vaginosis, can be avoided by following these instructions:
- Avoid prolonged hot tubs and whirlpool spas use.
- Don’t douche.
- Be sure to rinse soap from your genital area when showering.
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Wear cotton underwear or underwear with a cotton crotch.
We have been providing compassionate care in the Triangle area for more than 40 years.
Vaginal infections, whether it’s vaginosis or a yeast infection, are very common, and we have helped women of all ages in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. Most importantly, we want to be a partner in your care during all stages of your life.
Schedule an appointment with us to see why we are the provider of choice for generations of Triangle women.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.
The Mayo Clinic. “Vaginitis.” Online.