Bacterial Vaginosis or BV is a very common type of bacterial imbalance in the vagina. As per the CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20million American women suffer from this infection every year.
More importantly, over 30% of women between the ages of 15-44 are affected by bacterial vaginosis. Among a variety of bacterial vaginosis, infections are Gardnerella Vaginosis.
Gardnerella Vaginalis occurs in case of a change in the environment of your vagina. In case you are suffering from Gardnerella, it usually isn’t a cause of concern. 50% of people who have Gardnerella don’t even notice it, as they don’t display any symptoms.
Those who do experience symptoms can feel mild discomfort and a white or gray discharge from the vagina.
Let’s have a look at the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Gardnerella Vaginalis.
What is Gardnerella Vaginalis?
Gardnerella Vaginalis is a kind of bacterial infection of the vagina. It is not sexually transmitted. The Gardnerella bacteria are important for the vagina to maintain its overall balance.
It maintains the vaginal pH. However, there can be times when these bacteria increase in number and disrupt the optimal vaginal environment. When this happens, these bacteria contribute to the development of bacterial vaginosis.
You can easily treat it. But, it has a tendency of recurring. The symptoms of discomfort or the feeling of constant wetness can be very annoying.
Since it usually clears up on its own, this infection is not a cause of worry. However, there are some women in particular who should consult their gynecologist in case they experience symptoms of Gardnerella Vaginalis.
Pregnant women are usually at a high risk since this infection can increase the possibility of premature birth. A doctor can prescribe you some medicines or suggest some lifestyle change.
Let’s have a look at the symptoms of Gardnerella Vaginalis that can easily help you identify it.
Symptoms of Gardnerella Vaginalis
Either the symptoms of Gardnerella go away on their own or you might not experience them at all. However, a few women experience the following symptoms:
- Thin vaginal discharge can be gray or white.
- It can also be yellowish in color.
- gentle lower stomach pain
- This discharge can have a strong and fishy odor.
- You might experience a slight or severe burning sensation while peeing.
- Mild discomfort in your pubic area is a common symptom.
- You might also experience an itching sensation around your vagina.
- Some severe symptoms include acute pain and fever coupled with discharge. In such extreme cases, you should visit your doctor immediately.
There might be times when you are unable to distinguish the symptoms of Gardnerella Vaginalis from a yeast infection. This is because their symptoms can often be similar.
However, here are some basic tips to differentiate between these two infections:
- The discharge in both these infections is a basic point of difference.
- If the discharge is thin, gray, or white along with a fishy odor, you probably have Gardnerella Vaginalis.
- However, if the discharge is thick and clumpy in texture with no odor, it can be a yeast infection. This discharge is usually white or brown and looks like cottage cheese.
- Whatever is the case, we recommend that you consult a doctor to get a prescription for treatment if your discharge persists.
Causes of Gardnerella Vaginalis
Experts opine that there are no specific causes for this infection. However, there are certain things that you can avoid or do to lower your chances of developing this infection.
Let’s have a look at them:
- Cigarette smoking can affect the pH levels of your vagina and result in this infection.
- Hormonal changes can also be a possible cause.
- Strong vaginal deodorants affect your pH.
- If you have a new sex partner, you are at an increased risk of developing this infection.
- Using strong and scented detergents to wash your undergarments is a common risk factor.
- Usage of a condom can diminish the chances of developing Gardnerella Vaginalis.
- Research indicates that douching or excessive cleaning can also be responsible since it affects your pH levels and kills the bacteria. This, in turn, affects the vaginal environment making it more prone to infections.
- Not maintaining vaginal hygiene or STI can be two of the reasons that contribute to this infection.
How to prevent Gardnerella Vaginalis?
Let’s look at a few tips that can prevent Gardnerella Vaginalis:
- Develop a healthy vaginal sanitation regime that doesn’t involve touching. Don’t over-clean your vagina as it kills the healthy bacteria required to maintain your vaginal pH. Allow your vagina to regulate its fluids.
- Try to have protected intercourse and limit your number of sexual partners. Unprotected sex is a big no-no.
- Use gynecologist-recommended products to improve your vaginal health. Don’t experiment by self-prescribing.
- Avoid the use of uncomfortable and bad-quality undergarments and perfumed sanitary pads.
- Change your pad or tampon at regular intervals.
- Use pH-maintaining products in your pubic area as prescribed by your doctor.
Also Read: A Guide to the Stages of Menopause
Treatment of Gardnerella Vaginalis
If you are not facing any symptoms or discomfort of any kind, then you don’t need to get yourself treated.
However, if your symptoms continue to persist even after a long time and don’t go away on their own, we recommend the following:
- Your Gardnerella Vaginalis infection can be easily treated using antibiotics.
- Some commonly prescribed antibiotics include Metronidazole and Tinidazole.
- Your doctor might also prescribe you some vaginal cream or gel to alleviate your symptoms. Clindamycin is a commonly prescribed cream.
- During your medication course, avoid excessively touching or disturbing your pubic area. Avoid wearing tampons or any sexual activity.
- Do not self-medicate, it can be extremely dangerous. Go to your gynecologist to get a valid prescription.
- Avoid smoking and douching. Maintain vaginal hygiene.
The Final Word
Gardnerella Vaginalis is a very common infection that is a leading cause of BV or Bacterial Vaginosis. Try to prevent this infection by taking advice from the aforementioned tips.
However, if you still develop this infection, do not worry. It is not a cause of concern as you might not experience any symptoms or they eventually might go away on their own. However, if your symptoms persist or turn severe, visit your doctor ASAP.
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