Do you suffer from a fishy vaginal odor? How about daily or frequent vaginal discharge? A pungent, unpleasant vaginal odor is the primary symptom of bacterial vaginosis (BV), and it is usually accompanied by a regular, daily discharge from the vagina as well.
Bacterial vaginosis is a very common condition in women. In fact, more than 650,000 women in the United States get BV each year, and it has been determined that nearly one-third of women in the U.S. will get bacterial vaginosis at some point. This is a wide-spread and unfortunate problem many women have to deal with, and a good number of women have to put up with the ongoing recurrence of BV as well, causing even greater frustration.
The fishy vaginal odor and discharge caused by bacterial vaginosis, while being the main symptoms noticed by women and often times the source of a good deal of frustrating embarrassment and inconvenience, are not the only symptoms associated with this condition. Bacterial vaginosis causes a few other symptoms as well, including vaginal irritation, itching, as well as cramping. These symptoms can range from mild to severe for the women who experience them. That being said, many women never do experience these “other” symptoms, and some women never have any symptoms at all.
Although it is easy to think that those women who never have any symptoms, especially that fishy vaginal odor, are lucky, that is really not the case. The symptoms, while unpleasant and embarrassing, are there to tell women that something is not quite right; there is a problem that needs to be dealt with and corrected. This is important with any kind of disease, infection, or condition, and bacterial vaginosis is no different.
All by itself, bacterial vaginosis, outside of the annoying and sometimes painful symptoms, is fairly harmless. That being said, there are situations in which bacterial vaginosis causes very serious problems that can lead to potentially detrimental health risks. So, BV can be much more serious than the dreaded and embarrassing fishy vaginal odor to be sure.
Three Important Risk Factors that Bacterial Vaginosis Causes:
- For pregnant women, it increases the risk of miscarriage and preterm labor.
- Bacteria vaginosis has been linked to the onset of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can potentially lead to infertility. For the sake of clarity and so as not to cause alarm, it is important to point out this usually only occurs in women who undergo some type of serious pelvic or vaginal procedure while BV is present.
- Bacterial vaginosis causes an increase in the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted disease in women who are exposed to such a disease.
As you can see, while a fishy vaginal odor and discharge can be a serious nuisance, bacteria vaginosis can also be something much more serious. This is why it is important for all women to be mindful of BV’s symptoms, and when a woman suspects that she has bacterial vaginosis it is important to pursue the proper course of treatment.
Here are a couple of other facts about bacterial vaginosis. In nearly one quarter of women who get BV it goes away on its own, leaving 75% to seek treatment. Doctors will typically treat bacterial vaginosis with antibiotics. Unfortunately many women who pursue this course are left unsatisfied with the result due to the fact that in many cases the BV will return not long after the antibiotic treatment was administered, leaving women to deal with the embarrassing fishy vaginal odor, etc. all over again and unsure what to do. This typically causes many women to search for alternative sources of treatments outside of conventional medicine (see below for more information about treatment options).