Bacterial Vaginosis Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Bacterial Vaginosis Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Bacterial vaginosis is a condition in which there is excessive growth of bacteria in the vagina. This situation can change the normal pH of the vagina and potentially increase the risk of contracting various sexually transmitted infections in the future.

Although it can occur at any age, bacterial vaginosis is most common in women in the age range of 15–44 years. Bacterial vaginosis can generally be treated completely and is not categorized as a sexually transmitted disease.


Signs and symptoms experienced in bacterial vaginosis include:

  • Gray vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal secretions smell fishy
  • vaginal itching
  • Burning sensation when urinating


Under normal conditions, the vagina has much higher levels of good bacteria (lactobacillus) than bad bacteria (anaerobes). Under certain circumstances, these bad bacteria can experience excessive growth so that it disrupts the balance of the normal vaginal flora.

It is not known exactly why this happened. However, there are several risk factors that are known to increase the potential for anaerobic bacteria to overgrow.

Suspected factors include:

  • Have multiple sexual partners
  • Washing the vagina with cleansing fluid
  • Don’t have a lot of good bacteria in the vagina naturally


To determine the diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis, a series of examinations is needed which include:

  • Medical interview to find out the symptoms experienced
  • Physical examination in the form of examination of the pelvic cavity by inserting two fingers into the vagina
  • Examination of vaginal secretions under a microscope to detect the presence of ‘clue cells’, a specific sign of bacterial vaginosis
  • Examination of vaginal pH levels. In bacterial vaginosis, the pH level generally shows a number greater than 4.5


Bacterial vaginosis can be treated by administering drugs such as metronidazole, clindamycin or tinidazole through a doctor’s prescription. In pregnant women, treatment of bacterial vaginosis must be carried out thoroughly to avoid premature birth or low birth weight babies.


Various complications can occur due to incomplete treatment of bacterial vaginosis, such as:

  • Increased risk of HIV transmission
  • The risk of premature birth in infections experienced by pregnant women
  • Increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
  • Increased risk of inflammation of the pelvic cavity ( Pelvic Inflammatory Disease ) which can make it difficult to get offspring


There is no specific prevention that can be done to avoid bacterial vaginosis. However, several things can reduce the risk of transmitting this infection, namely:

  • Not having sex before marriage
  • Do not change sexual partners
  • Do not use vaginal cleansing fluid

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