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Bacterial Vaginosis often referred to as a bv infection which is common in young, pregnant and even older women which could be more evident when they have multiple sexual partners with whom they would engage in vaginal intercourse.
Bacterial Vaginosis during pregnancy may be considered as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) due to its increased evidence when engaging in vaginal intercourse but may not be necessarily so.
There are women who contract bv infection even though they may not engage in vaginal intercourse hence the causes for the disease are still under study.
Whilst it could affect most women about 10% to 30% of pregnant women could contract a bv infection during some period within their pregnancy.
Treating the condition is advisable but regular tests to identify the problem would not be carried out on pregnant women other than if it is detected by chance when vaginal swab tests are conducted to look at other issues during the pregnancy.
Recognizing the symptoms
Bacterial Vaginosis causes a grey or whitish discharge to emanate from the vagina and the most important being that it would have a very fishy and disgusting odor.
The odor may be much stronger especially after vaginal intercourse when the discharge mixes up with semen.
If you are pregnant and these symptoms occur a test of the vaginal discharge should be initiated which would show a pH level of 4.5 or more indicating that it is a bv infection.
Pregnant women would need to ensure that they treat the condition when bv symptoms are detected as it could cause some complications during the pregnancy.
Though there would be this discharge and bad odor it would not be accompanied with itchiness and inflammation around the vaginal area which if noticed could be due to another common problem related to women which is a yeast infection also called candidiasis.
The causes of bacterial vaginosis
The discharge of fluid from the vagina when a woman is contracted with bacterial vaginosis is due to the imbalance in the normal bacteria that generally exists in the vagina.
The existence of bacteria is not an issue as it is a normal condition but it is when there is an imbalance that the fluid starts to emanate and the fishy and foul smell becomes evident.
Vaginal intercourse and the discharge of semen could aggravate the condition which is the reason that it is referred to as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and listed under that classification, in most medical journals and diagnosed as such.
Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy
Pregnant women too are vulnerable to bv infection which could result in going into labor prematurely, miscarriages late into pregnancy and developing infections in the womb after the birth of the baby.
The chances of women contracting bacterial vaginosis are high and it generally results in miscarriages, premature pregnancies, a low birth weight of the baby and infections in the uterus or womb after delivery.
In some pregnant women the symptoms of bv infection may not occur which could be a cause for concern and it would be detected or diagnosed only when complications in the pregnancy occurs.
It is imperative that women discuss the issue of any bv infection with their health care provider and take the appropriate step to address it.
Screening for bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy
There are no standard or generalized reasons for a routine screening for bv infection in pregnant women but if you notice any symptoms it would be imperative that you bring it to the notice of your health care provider discuss it in detail and ensure that it is treated before the condition aggravates.
A pelvic examination and a wet microscopic slide test coupled with a pH test would easily detect whether the prevailing condition is a bv infection or the discharge is normal which would generally occur in pregnant women for many reasons.
The necessity to screen for bacterial vaginosis
Though health care providers who advise and care for pregnant women during their pregnancy do not routinely check for bacterial vaginosis it is imperative that the latter initiate a discussion with the former if they feel that the symptoms they experience could be related to this specific condition.
It is prenatal health care providers with the concurrence of the pregnant woman who would decide whether to conduct a test to diagnose the ensuing condition and if so seek treatment.
Treatment for bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy
Administering antibiotics to pregnant women should be avoided hence it would be in the best interests of those who are pregnant to be apprised on how to get rid of bv without antibiotics.
The following simple home remedies could be used in bv treatment instead of resorting to antibiotics but if the condition persists consult a doctor.
- Milk helps to strengthen the immune system and is also a good natural cure for bv infections as it contains the bacteria lactobacilli. A tampon dipped in chilled fresh milk should be inserted into the vagina and kept inside for a couple of hours before removing it. This should be repeated twice daily for several days till the symptoms of the bv infection are controlled.
- Add a teaspoon of fresh turmeric powder to a glass of warm fresh milk and drink it once daily till the symptoms of the bv infection diminishes and is under control.
- Coconut oil has very good antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties which could also contain the bacterial imbalance in those who would have the symptoms of a bv infection. Coconut oil could help in bv treatment and also prevent recurrence. Apply good virgin coconut oil thrice daily around and in the vagina area after washing and wiping it with a tissue or clean piece of cloth.
You could also dip a tampon in the same virgin coconut oil and insert it into the vagina after thoroughly washing the area, leave it for a couple of hours.
Remove the tampon and wash the vaginal area with warm water, repeat this process every day till the condition improves.