This article is part of an ongoing series about STI's as they relate to swinging. You can read related articles here.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is not technically an STI, but it is related to sex and is commonly encountered in women who have multiple sexual partners. All healthy vaginas contain bacteria. Normally the “good” bacteria outnumber the “bad.” When this balance is disrupted the harmful bacteria take over and cause symptoms such as itching, discharge or a fishy odor. The odor is typically worse after sex.
Bacterial vaginiosis is not thought to be contagious or something that is spread from person to person.
Bacterial vaginosis can cause miscarriages and premature delivery in pregnant women. It can also cause infections after a hysterectomy or abortion.
This infection is the most common vaginal infection. Even if you've never had sex you can have BV. A few things have been linked to BV. They are douching, smoking, having a new partner, having multiple partners and not using condoms.
The imbalance in bacteria is thought to be caused by a change in the vaginal pH. Normally the vagina is acidic (low pH). When the pH is altered for prolonged periods of time by douching, semen or menstruation, harmful bacteria can take over.
It is estimated that 21 million women in the US have BV.
If you have a fishy odor you should be tested for BV. Your Dr will do a pelvic exam and take a swab to look for the harmful types of bacteria under the microscope.
Bacterial vaginosis is treated with an oral or topical antibiotic.
It often recurs, especially if you smoke, douche or have multiple partners.
Some studies have shown that probiotics (acidophilis tablets) are helpful in treatment and preventing recurrence.
Some studies show that using condoms and dental dams can help prevent recurrences.
Not smoking reduces your risk.
This article concludes my series on common STIs as they relate to swinging. I hope that the information is a good resource for you. My hope is that these articles have enlightened you to the risks and perventive measures you can take and empowered you to seek the best possible care for yourself and your partners.