Bacterial infection in the vagina occurs when there is an imbalance in the number of bacteria growing around the vaginal area. There are many bacteria that form the normal flora of the vagina. They tend to produce acid that does not allow any infection causing bacteria, fungi, or virus, to grow around this area. However, if the acidity is decreased, it leads to infection. There are many different kinds of infections of which bacterial vaginosis is the most common.
Changes in hormones, stress, and even the use of soap that decreases the acidity of the vagina can be included in the causes of this bacterial infection in women. The drop in pH level allows the normal as well as other bacteria to grow more than usual. Women who use tampons can also be susceptible to this infection. Unprotected sex with an unknown or infected partner can also be one of the causes. The infection that occurs due to unprotected sex is called sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Most women may get infected with bacterial vaginosis at least once in their lifetime. Women should not be embarrassed to discuss these symptoms, as many are known to often get affected by these infections. About 40% of all vaginal infections in the United States are due to bacterial vaginosis. This occurs due to imbalance in the vaginal pH as well the number of bacteria. The symptoms include the following:
- Foul vaginal odor
- Sticky white or gray discharge
- Fishy odor of the vaginal discharge
- Burning sensation during urination
- Itchy vagina
Other indications may include the following:
- Unusual vaginal discharge with unpleasant smell as well as color
- Irritation of the vulva
- Abdominal pain
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Lumps, blisters, or ulcers near vulva or anus
- Pain during and bleeding after sex
The infection is treated using antibiotics in the form of gel, cream, and/or tablets. There are many home remedies for it like use of plain yogurt. You can insert plain yogurt using a plastic applicator directly into the vagina. This helps in maintaining the balance between the normal beneficial bacteria, as well as pathogenic bacteria in vagina. Tea tree oil suppositories can be inserted into the vagina for about 6 weeks, which helps in lowering the number of infection causing bacteria, curing the infection. Infections due to chlamydia and gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics.
On observation of the aforementioned symptoms, one should visit the doctor as early as possible. This is because, if the infection spreads to the reproductive organs, it may lead to many serious health concerns like infertility.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.