Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is commonly caused by overabundance of the bacteria strain gardnerella vaginalis, the most common type of bacteria found in the vagina. This naturally occurring bacteria is commonly outnumbered by the number of “good” bacteria in the vagina and vaginal canal. Helpful bacteria include strains such as lactobacilli which make the vagina slightly acidic and therefore uninviting to bad bacteria such as the strain resulting in BV. Infection of the vagina due to BV is caused by an imbalance of the bad bacteria. Chemicals and activities that change the chemistry of the vagina results in vaginal pH imbalance, leading to infection.
These are the 5 most common causes of BV:
- Douching or forcibly over cleansing the vagina and vaginal canal using chemicals. Chemical “feminine cleansers” and douching alter the pH and lead to BV.
- Sex with a new partner or multiple partners.The bodily fluids of a new partner can cause a change in the pH of the vagina and can result in BV.
- Perfumes or strong chemicals in laundry detergents.Switching to a scent free or natural laundry detergent may help reduce the impact having undergarments with perfume or chemicals imbedded into them.
- Soaking in a bath with perfumed bath products. Having heavily perfumed products in direct contact with the vagina can disturb the growth of good bacteria and lead to pH imbalance.
- Smoking.Smoking can cause a number of changes to the general health of the vaginal canal, namely due to changes in pH.
Signs of BV (Bacterial Vaginosis)
Signs of BV include
- A grayish discharge from the vagina
- A fishy odor
- Itching or burning sensation in the vagina