The vagina is a very sensitive organ. Vaginas have a very delicate pH balance, and it is actually self regulating.
This means that it keeps itself clean and healthy. However, many things can disrupt the pH balance of your vagina.
When the pH balance of the vagina is disrupted, you can be more prone to infections and ailments. Bacterial Vaginosis is one of the most common ailments that can affect the vagina’s flora.
If you have an unusual discharge, you could have an infection called Bacterial vaginosis. Read on to find out what BV is, how you can treat it, and if you can cure it in one day.
What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis is a common sexual health condition that results in smelly vaginal discharge.
You may find that the discharge has a fish-like scent, and can be white or watery in appearance.
Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation that is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance of the vagina and results in an infection.
All vaginas have a flow of healthy bacteria in order to maintain them. This also maintains the pH balance of the vagina.
When the pH levels of the vagina become unbalanced, then unhealthy bacteria can begin to thrive, giving you an infection.
Bacterial vaginosis is more common in women who are sexually active, so it is often found in women aged 15-45 but for most it can be symptomless.
That being said, it is incredibly common, and can happen a few times in your lifetime.
Symptoms Of Bacterial Vaginosis
Symptoms of Bacterial vaginosis can vary from woman to woman, and as mentioned above, many women will not notice symptoms at all.
However, some symptoms can include:
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Itching around the outside of the vagina
- Strong fish like smell, particularly after sexual intercourse
- Itching, burning and irritation in the vagina
- Thin gray or white vaginal discharge
- Pain and irritation during sexual intercourse.
If you are displaying symptoms, then it is best to go to a doctor or healthcare provider such as a sexual health clinic.
They may perform some tests to ensure that you do not have any sexually transmitted diseases, and they will typically take a sample of the fluid from the vagina to determine if you have Bacterial vaginosis.
Causes Of Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis can be caused by a range of factors. There is no definitive answer for what directly causes Bacterial vaginosis, as it can happen to any woman at any point.
However, research has shown that Bacterial vaginosis is more common in women who are sexually active, so it is likely a result of sexual intercourse and interaction that upsets the flora of the vagina.
In addition, Bacterial vaginosis can increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
As Bacterial vaginosis is often triggered by sex, there are some causes related to sex that can trigger Bacterial vaginosis.
These are things like new sexual partners, having multiple sexual partners, douching, or having sex without a condom.
Having New Sexual Partners
We just want to reiterate that Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease, but having sex with new partners can irritate the vagina, increase the risk of unhealthy bacteria, which of course will result in the infection.
Therefore, having sexual intercourse with a new partner can increase the chance of developing Bacterial vaginosis.
This is largely down to the fact that vaginas have a delicate flora or chemistry, and a new partner with different genital chemistry, cleanliness levels, and bacteria can disrupt the balance of good bacteria in the vagina, and alter your vagina’s pH levels and natural chemistry.
Having Multiple Sexual Partners
As new sexual partners can increase the risk of developing Bacterial vaginosis, so can having multiple partners.
By the same logic, introducing various different partners brings different bacteria into the vagina, which can again upset the natural balance of the vagina and result in BV.
Douching/Cleaning The Vagina
This is an important one. Often, women may deeply cleanse the vagina in order to remove traces of discharge or a particular scent.
This is harmful for the vagina, and will do more harm than good, as upsetting the pH balance of the vagina, although you are trying to clean it can result in more foul odors rather than good ones as the vagina tries to self clean and remove bacteria.
The vagina is self-cleaning, so feminine hygiene products such as douches and soaps can disrupt the vagina and lead to infections like BV, or even yeast infections.
While it is important to cleanse the vagina, this should be done with warm water and unscented soap, and you should only wash the area outside of the vagina, not actually inside of the vagina itself.
The vaginal fluids are there to flush out anything and clean the vagina in order to maintain the delicate balance of bacteria and remove infections.
You can also ensure that you urinate after sex, and wash the vagina with warm water and unscented soap after sexual intercourse to reduce the risk of bacterial infections like BV.
Having Sex Without Using A Condom
Having sexual intercourse without using a condom can also result in Bacterial vaginosis. This is because vaginas maintain their own balance of good bacteria, but so do penises.
The bacteria from a penis can spread harmful bacteria, and cause a vaginal infection.
Semen also has an alkaline pH between 7.3 and 8.0, which is different to the acidic pH of the vagina.
As the acidic environment of the vagina interacts with the varying pH balance of the vagina, this can disrupt the vagina and make you more at risk of an infection.
Can You Catch BV From Sexual Intercourse?
It is important to note that Bacterial vaginosis is not an STD. However, it can be triggered by sexual intercourse.
Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that only occurs in the vagina. However, men can carry the bacteria that causes Bacterial vaginosis.
This bacteria can accumulate and grow on the penis or urethra, so men can transmit this bacteria to females via sexual intercourse which results in the infection.
That being said, male sexual partners will not have BV per say, and will not require treatment for BV as it is a vaginal infection.
With that in mind, Bacterial vaginosis can spread between female sexual partners.
So, if one sexual partner has Bacterial vaginosis, then the other sexual partners can catch it as the bacteria will spread.
Treatment For Bacterial Vaginosis
If you do think that you could have Bacterial vaginosis, then it is essential that you go to a doctor, clinic, or healthcare provider.
The most common treatment for BV is antibiotics or other medications. This will give you the best chance of getting rid of BV quickly.
However, even after treating BV, the infection can occur within a year, or you may suffer from BV many times during your lifetime.
Bacterial vaginosis will typically clear up with antibiotics in a couple of days. If left untreated, it can take much longer to clear up.
In addition, women with BV are more at risk of developing other sexually transmitted diseases, so it is best to get treatment, and avoid sexual intercourse until the treatment is completed.
If the infection does not go away after treatment, then it is vital that you speak to a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible for further medication.
If you experience any more increased pain, a high fever, or vaginal bleeding, then you should seek medical assistance as soon as you can.
Can You Cure BV In One Day?
No, it is unlikely that you can cure BV in one day. Even with antibiotics, symptoms will only improve after 2-3 days, and it could take a further few days to clear the infection completely.
After around a week, the infection should be cleared completely.
You can also try using boric acid supplements to aid the clearance of BV.
This is a researched antiseptic with antimicrobial properties that can treat women’s sexual health, by restoring the good bacteria and balance of the vagina.
It can also reduce symptoms such as burning, itching, and foul smelling discharge.
Boric acid supplements are most commonly used as suppositories for this purpose, but be sure to speak with your healthcare provider for advice before using boric acid supplements.
Either way, if you use boric acid supplements and antibiotics, it is unlikely that the BV will go away in one day.
Risks Of Untreated Bacterial Vaginosis
In some cases, Bacterial vaginosis can go away without any treatment, but this is not the case for everyone. If you do suspect you have Bacterial vaginosis, then you should get it treated as soon as possible.
Untreated Bacterial vaginosis can put you at higher risk of getting or transmitting HIV, and other STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Bacterial vaginosis can also cause pelvic inflammatory disease due to the bacteria, which can also make it harder for you to conceive children.
If you are pregnant, then having BV can also cause you to deliver the baby too early.
To summarize, Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection that occurs when the delicate balance of the vagina is disrupted, and there is more bad bacteria than good bacteria.
This often happens as a result of sexual intercourse, and can be treated with antibiotics for the best results. With medication, BV can go away within around 5-7 days.