Microscopic image of Bacterial Vaginosis


Information and pictures on Bacterial vaginosis, a common sexually transmitted disease. Information including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, transmission, prevention and other general information.


When different types of bacteria outnumber the normal bacteria, Lactobacillus, an imbalance is caused in the bacterial organisms that exist in the vagina.

Instead of Lactobacillus bacteria being the most numerous, increased numbers of other organisms are found in the vaginas of women with Bacterial vaginosis (BV) such as:

  • Bacteroides
  • Gardnerella vaginalis
  • Mobiluncus
  • Mycoplasma hominis


Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is also called:

  • Gardnerella-associated vaginitis
  • Nonspecific vaginitis

It is one of the most common causes of vaginitis symptoms among women, particularly those who are sexually active, producing painful inflammation of the vagina.


Bacterial vaginosis Symptoms

Although more than 50% of women with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) have no symptoms, when symptoms do occur they include:

  • excessive, thin gray or white vaginal discharge that sticks to the vaginal walls
  • fishy or musty, unpleasant vaginal odor, most noticeable after sex
  • vaginal itching and irritation


Photos of Bacterial vaginosis Symptoms


Transmission of Bacterial vaginosis

The risk of acquiring Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is increased by:

  • changing sexual partners
  • douching
  • using intrauterine devices (IUDs)

The infection cannot be spread from person to person by casual contact, such as:

  • clothing
  • door knobs
  • eating utensils
  • swimming pools
  • toilet seats


Diagnosis of Bacterial vaginosis

Diagnosis is general made by one of two methods:


Physical Examination

  • observation made with the naked eye and nose
  • undergoing a pelvic examination


Laboratory Tests

A sample of the vaginal discharge is obtained and viewed under the microscope, either stained or in special lighting, to determine:

  • absence of lactobacilli
  • change in pH of vaginal fluid
  • decreased acidity
  • If the vaginal cells have the classic appearance of ‘clue cells’, cells from the vaginal lining that are coated with Bacterial vaginosis (BV) organisms, which appear in Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • The presence of Gardnerella bacteria to confirm by microscopic examination
  • As an added confirmation of infection, the sample is mixed with potassium hydroxide and produces a strong fishy odor when the bacteria is present


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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) Treatment

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) can be difficult to cure using either conventional or alternative treatments.


Conventional Treatment

Although it is uncertain if Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is sexually transmitted treatment of all sexual partners is essential to prevent re-infection.

The usual treatment is antibiotics, taken orally or vaginally, including:

  • Ampicillin
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Clindamycin
  • Femmesil
  • Metronidazole
  • Tetracycline

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Naturopathic Treatment

  • abstaining from sexual activity while the bacterial imbalance/infection is healing
  • direct applications of local, anti-microbial products
  • support the immune system and its ability to fight the infection and balance the vaginal system


Dietary Recommendations:

Include in your diet:

  • flaxseed (Linseed) meal and oil – quality source of omega 3
  • fresh vegetables and fruits
  • unrefined grains
  • organic meats, including fish, poultry
  • plenty of pure fresh water – spring water or filter water

Use foods that have been raised without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides wherever possible.

Reduce or avoid:

  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • fast foods
  • processed foods
  • refined flour products (bread, pasta, etc.)
  • saturated fats from animal products
  • sugar


Nutritional Supplements

  • Vitamin C (1,000 mg three times daily with meals)
  • Zinc (30 mg daily)

Proteolytic enzymes have been shown to increase effectiveness of the medication.

These include:

  • Bromelain (400mg)
  • Wobenzme N (5 tablets three times a day away from meals)


Herbal Therapeutics

  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) vaginal suppositories
  • Goldenseal/Vitamin A vaginal suppository twice daily


Homeopathic Therapeutics

  • Aspergillus
  • Candida
  • Notatum


Other Treatments

  • warm sitz baths with tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • vaginal douching using: Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) and Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia aqjuifolium)


Bacterial vaginosis Prevention

Although it is uncertain if the infection is sexually transmitted, sexually active women appear to suffer from the infection more than other women.

Help Factors:

  • abstain from sex until the infection is cured and all symptoms have ceased
  • inform any sex partners so treatment may be undertaken
  • limit sexual relationships to a single, uninfected partner
  • regular use of condoms may offer protection against the infection


Bacterial vaginosis Prognosis


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is thought to be associated with:

  • ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
  • infertility (unable to have children)
  • low birth weight in infants born to infected mothers
  • pelvic infections
  • premature birth in infants born to infected mothers

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) increases the risk of acquiring: