Does something smell majorly off down there? Like, kind of ﬁ shy? It might be bacterial vaginosis, an infection so common that one in three girls will get it at some point during their lifetime. DIANA FAITH KEMBABAZI talks to double board-certiﬁ ed gynecologist Dr. Kecia Gaither, talks more about the infection’s symptoms, treatment, and risk factors.
What is bacterial vaginosis? Bacteria might sound gross and weird, but not all kinds of bacteria are bad. Your vagina needs a certain balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria to stay healthy at the right pH level.When that balance gets out of whack, you can wind up with an infection called bacterial vaginosis (or BV for short).
Are BV and yeast infections the same thing? Nope! While they’re both common types of vaginal infections and therefore, have similar symptoms, the two are different. However, it can be difﬁ cult to tell the difference, so it’s always better to check with a doctor. According to Healthline, BV typically has a ﬁ shy odor, whereas yeast infections are itchier and produce cottage cheese-like discharge.
Why do people get BV? Every person is different. Some chics happen to have lots of the “good” bacteria that keep BV at bay, whereas others aren’t as lucky. Extreme stress, douching (spraying a product into your vagina to wash it out, which is unnecessary) and long-term antibiotic use can all trigger the overgrowth of “bad” bacteria. Can you get BV from having sex? Though bacterial vaginosis is not an STD, sexual activity with new or several partners can “increase your risk for BV,” according to Planned Parenthood. Sex can also “change the balance in your vagina, [causing] bacteria to grow.” Bottom line: DON’T HAVE SEX! Abstain.
What are the symptoms? The main sign of BV is a noticeable ﬁ shy odor. You might also see an increase in discharge and feel itchy.
How can you tell if you have it? You cannot examine your own vaj-vaj but you can visit your doctor or gynecologist, who will do a pelvic exam. That involves inserting a speculum (a metal or plastic instrument) into the vagina so your doctor can see what’s going on. They might take some discharge and examine it under a microscope. If they see cells covered with bacteria, which look like round discs dotted with pepper, it’s ofﬁcially BV.
How do you treat it? Your doctor will prescribe you with an antibiotic called metronidazole. Most commonly, patients are instructed to take a one-time dose of two grams. As far as treatments go, this one is a cinch: one pill and the infection is gone! Why is it important to treat BV? The infection actually alters the mucous membrane in the vagina, which makes you more susceptible to STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infectins. But since you’re a teen and abstaining, you shouldn’t worry about contracting STIs).
Will BV go away without being treated? Though it’s possible for BV to go away by itself, if you notice symptoms, you should still get tested to be safe. According to the Ofﬁ ce on Women’s Health, leaving BV untreated could put you at a higher risk of getting an STD and potentially cause pregnancy troubles in the future, such as premature birth.
How can you prevent BV? If you’re susceptible to bacterial vaginosis (i.e. you’ve had it before), you can decrease your risk of getting it again by eating yogurt regularly. It enhances the growth of “good” bacteria to keep your vajay-jay happy
According to www.mayoclinic.org, having yogurt regularly helps prevent bacterial infections as it is a natural probiotic.