When you are pregnant, you must be on guard to protect your health and that of your unborn baby. Despite your best efforts, you may be unable to protect yourself from bacterial vaginosis. Scientists do not know for sure what causes bacterial vaginosis, or BV. They do know that it occurs because of an imbalance of bacteria in your vagina. The vagina normally contains both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria should outnumber the bad so that you avoid infections like BV. When the bad bacteria begin to overtake the good, you contract bacterial vaginosis. BV is associated with a number of pregnancy complications, most notably premature delivery and low birth weight. However, it can be treated with antibiotics if it is detected in time.
Despite being treatable with antibiotics, many obstetricians will not test patients for it unless they are exhibiting symptoms. In fact, one in four pregnant women will have BV and not have any symptoms at all. The Centers for Disease Control instruct doctors to avoid testing patients who do not exhibit symptoms for bacterial vaginosis. Many women with this condition go onto have normal pregnancies, although they often deliver prematurely.
Those who are tested for BV and treated it for it often feel embarrassed or that they have done something wrong to put themselves and their babies at risk. Doctors and scientists do not know how this condition comes about and can only offer theories about how women can protect themselves against it. They do know that it is not a sexually transmitted disease, although studies have linked vaginal sex to its presence in some patients. They also know that it is not hereditary or linked to genetics. Doctors and scientists offer few theories about how this condition can actually be prevented. They often tell women to practice safe sex and to avoid smoking, as smoking lowers their bodies’ resistance to bad bacteria. Some doctors also tell women to eat probiotic yogurt, as probiotics introduce healthy bacteria to the human body.
Symptoms Of Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy
BV only exhibits a few symptoms that tip doctors off that a patient may have this condition. The most notable symptom involves a foul-smelling discharge. A woman’s discharge may have a foul or fish-like odor, particularly after she has sex. Once she notices that the odor does not dissipate on its own, she may then seek medical treatment and be diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis.
Another symptom commonly found with BV involves the color of a woman’s discharge. During a normal pregnancy, a woman may have watery or thin, white discharge. With bacterial vaginosis her discharge often is gray in appearance. Her doctor may interpret this color as a sign that the patient needs to be tested for BV. The final symptom that doctors ask about when considering a test for BV is vaginal itching or burning. Healthy discharge should not itch or burn. Itching and burning are signs that a woman has an infection and needs prompt medical care. If a woman has discharge that is foul-smelling, gray in appearance, and causes her itching or burning, her doctor will typically test her for bacterial vaginosis.
The test itself is performed by taking a wet sample and examining it under a microscope. If the test comes back positive, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics for the pregnant woman. It is important that if you are diagnosed with BV and given antibiotics that you finish the entire course of medication. Taking it all will ensure that the infection stays away and that you avoid complications like premature delivery of your baby. Despite being treated successfully once, you could be at a higher risk of developing BV later. Up to 30 percent of all women experience bacterial vaginosis more than once in their lives.
Bacterial Vaginosis Home Remedies
Some women are leery about accepting any type of medical intervention for their BV infections. They fear that the antibiotics will cause harm to their babies or that they will suffer a miscarriage if they submit to modern medical treatments. They may instead prefer to try home remedies for BV. A number of home treatments exist, all of which have yet to be confirmed as 100 percent effective in curing this condition. Nonetheless, if you are a fan of home remedies, you could try these at your own risk at home.
Apple cider vinegar is often touted as a cure-all for home remedy fans. It is said to cure skin conditions, boost your energy level, reverse anemia, and get rid of abscesses. It also could be used to treat bacterial vaginosis. To use apple cider vinegar for BV, you are advised to dab it on the affected area several times each day. You should then rinse it with clear water. If you are already experiencing burning and itching, vinegar may aggravate those symptoms. Other women swear by garlic as a remedy for BV. Garlic can be combined with water and then used as a douche to treat the affected area. Doctors warn against douching during pregnancy because the air from the douche bottle could cause an embolism to form in your uterus. An embolism is a pocket of air that could travel from your uterus to your heart or lung and end up killing you.
Finally, home remedy fans say that the most effective and safest way to treat bacterial vaginosis at home is to eat probiotic yogurt. Organic probiotic yogurt contains copious amounts of good bacteria. These bacteria travel through your body into your vagina and effectively curb the number of bad bacteria causing this condition. To maintain the proper balance of bacteria, you may be advised to eat probiotic yogurt at least once a day. Even doctors will agree that yogurt can go a long way to keep your bacterial balance in check. However, they do warn that sweetened yogurts could raise your blood sugar and cause you to gain unnecessary weight. Nonetheless, yogurt is a BV home remedy recognized by modern medicine and home remedy experts alike.