Gardnerella Vaginosis happens when there this an overgrowth of numerous bacteria in the woman’s vagina. Such bacteria include Gardneralla mobiluncus, Gardnerella vaginalis and Mycoplasma hominis. Most women usually ignore the signs and symptoms of this condition because they think that it’s just a yeast infection and can easily be treated with over-the-counter drugs.
As much as 60% of all vulvovaginal infections are due to Gardnerella Vaginosis. This usually develops when a woman is sexually active. There are even scenarios when this disease occurs among pregnant women.
Causative Agents and Risk Factors
Until today, experts could not really comprehend the true causes of Garnderella Vaginosis, but they believe that it has a link with any changes related to the vagina’s natural balance of bacteria. Such bacterium located in the vagina is the Lactobacillus. This is one of the good bacteria that converts glycogen to lactic acid and regulates vaginal pH to keep it normal. If a woman has a normal pH level, it indicates that there is sufficient defense system against the reproduction of harmful bacteria.
The moment the pH is higher than the normal range, the defense decreases which can lead to the proliferation of numerous unhealthy bacteria. This is the time when the signs and symptoms of Gardnerella Vaginosis can be observed. Among all the women having this condition, half of them develop infection.
Any woman can develop Gardnerella Vaginosis, even those who never had sex. This disease also has numerous risk factors. Such factors include:
1.) Broad-spectrum antibiotics which can destroy even the healthy bacteria, hence, promoting infection.
3.) Retained tampons
5.) Intrauterine contraceptive devices or IUD
Gardnerella Vaginosis Signs and Symptoms
Typically, the most common signs and symptoms of Gardnerella Vaginosis include vaginal itching, vaginal odor and irritation and they are usually observed after sexual intercourse. Along with vaginal odor and irritation are sticky gray discharges that appear between four days and four weeks after its exposure. Gardnerella Vaginosis may also develop if pH level is higher than its normal value.
Although this condition has no complications, it is considered to be a risk factor of certain diseases that affect the woman’s reproductive system. These diseases can include: female infertility, ectopic pregnancy, premature birth and pelvic inflammatory disease. Moreover if the woman who had this disease is pregnant, there is a chance of having an infant with a low birth weight.
Women who are exposed to human immunodeficiency virus can also acquire HIV infection if they develop Gardnerella Vaginosis. Additionally, this disease also becomes contagious since the virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. It can also be a risk factor of certain sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, herpes simplex virus and chlamydia.
Gardnerella Vaginosis Treatment Methods
Even though Gardnerella Vaginosis will just subside without any treatments, it is still recommended for sufferers to seek medical help in order to shun the development of other diseases. If a sex partner has been infected, it is imperative for him to receive medical help as well.
With regards to the medications needed, doctors usually prescribe Clindamycin or Metronidazole. They can be administered orally in the form of tablets or topically in the form of creams. However if you’ve chosen the latter, you have to anticipate some common side effects such as burning, stinging or irritation. Furthermore, douching should never be implemented while treatment process is still underway.
It is highly advised for all women to take the medications prescribed to them by the doctor in treating Gardnerella Vaginosis even though the manifestations are no longer visible. This is important because an incomplete treatment process can result to a recurring Gardnerella Vaginosis.