Bacterial Vaginosis is a common vaginal infection in young women. Bacterial Vaginosis may be called Hemophilus, Gardnerella, or nonspecific Vaginitis. It is caused by an imbalance in normal vaginal bacteria.
Symptoms include a thin grayish discharge that has a "fishy" odor. The odor may increase after sexual intercourse. You may also experience mild off and on genital itching or skin irritation or burning. Sometimes it can feel like you have a bladder infection because you may find yourself needing to urinate more often.
Bacterial Vaginosis usually occurs when the vagina's PH is changed from acidic to alkaline. This PH change promotes overgrowth of normal vaginal bacteria. The exact cause is not known, but some contributing factors are:
- taking antibiotics
- improper hygiene
- vigorous sexual intercourse, especially when the vagina is not well lubricated
- hormonal fluctuations associated with your menstrual cycle or oral contraceptives.
Bacterial Vaginosis has been associated with the development of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (an infection of the vagina, cervix, tubes and ovaries). It may also contribute to premature labor and delivery in pregnant women.
Treatment may consist of vaginal creams or the oral medication, Metronidazole (Flagyl).
Some people should NOT take Metronidazole. Tell your health care provider if you:
- are possibly pregnant
- are breast-feeding
- have hepatitis or liver problems
- have bleeding problems
- have had seizures
- have recently taken Metronidazole
It is important that you take your medicine EXACTLY as prescribed. Common side effects include nausea and a metallic taste in the mouth. Take Metronidazole on a full stomach. DO NOT drink alcohol while taking Metronidazole and for three days after your medicine is gone (if you drink you may get very sick). Abstain from sexual intercourse during treatment. If you can't abstain, use condoms. Condoms may be obtained at the Student Health Center.