The Causes Of Bacterial Vaginosis In A Glance

The Causes Of Bacterial Vaginosis In A Glance

In the US, bacterial vaginosis (BV) occurs in about 10-64% of the general women population at any given time, and affects 16% of women during pregnancy. Scientists are still in the attempts to determine what actually causes BV. What is known so far is that there is a change in the vaginal environment when a woman has BV.

In BV, the balance of the ?good? and ?bad? bacteria inhabiting the vaginal area is disrupted. There is now more bad bacteria, i.e. BV-causing bacteria, than the good ones, the lactobacilli.

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Before continuing to take a look at the causes and risk factors of BV, it helps a great deal to first remove some of the misunderstanding about this vaginal condition. First and foremost, BV cannot be acquired through:

* Sitting on chairs or toilet seats.

* The mattresses or linens you sleep on.

* Swimming pools.

* Touching things around you.

What causes or increases the risk for a BV infection include:

1. Sexual activity

While BV is not considered as a sexually transmitted infection, studies have found a link between BV and sexual activity. Yet, it remains unclear as to how sexual activity changes the balance of the vaginal flora.

BV can occur in almost all women who are sexually active, but it may also happen, though rare, in females who haven’t had sex before. The BV-causing germs have also been found in teenage boys and girls who are still virgins. So far, sex activity is the strongest causative factor of BV.

What have been noted from scientific research thus far are:

* BV incidence increases with the number of sexual partners increases.

* BV may also be related to having a new sexual partner.

* Not using a condom may increase the chances of getting BV.

* The male partner does not get BV symptoms even if he may carry the same germs in his urinary tract as in the woman with BV.

2. Vaginal douching

Medical studies have reported that vaginal douching is associated with an increased risk for BV, because douching is likely to disrupt the vaginal flora balance.

It was hypothesized that douching causes either an imbalance to the vaginal flora or causes inflammation as a result of the physical or chemical irritation. This increases the risk of getting BV infection. The majority of douche products on the market contain a lot of acetic acid and fragrance, and some also contain surfactant detergents, which may cause vaginal irritation and increase the susceptibility to vaginal infection.

3. Other known causes of BV include cigarette smoking, use of intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control, and stress.