Pregnancy is an exciting and life-changing experience. However, as with any health event, there are often risks and side effects associated with it. One of the lesser known risks of pregnancy is bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common vaginal infection that can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms. Though it’s not entirely clear why, pregnant women have a higher risk of developing BV than other women. In this blog post, we’ll explore the potential causes of BV during pregnancy, as well as the potential risks and treatments. We’ll also discuss ways to reduce your risk of developing BV so you can have a healthy and happy pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy?
Strong fishy vaginal odor is the most noticeable and frequently the most unsettling symptom of BV, but some women also experience increased amounts of grayish discharge. Other signs of bacterial vaginosis include pain during sex, itching in the vulvovaginal area, and a burning sensation when you urinate.
A wet mount (microscopic slide test) and pH test are used to evaluate vaginal discharge (BV frequently results in a pH level of 4). 5 or higher), KOH slide (a test on a microscopic slide), or a whiff test (using a concoction that gives off a strong fishy smell).
Amylase, an enzyme that divides large carbohydrates into smaller ones called glycogen that healthy bacteria eat, has lower levels in the vagina of women with BV. The beneficial lactobacillus bacteria cannot develop and flourish without this preferred food source. Reduced levels of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which can fend off invasive bacteria, are also present in BV patients. In healthy vaginas, vaginal mucosal cells normally make AMPs. It is connected to having vaginal sex despite not being sexually transmitted. Consequently, if you search for it, it might come up under sexually transmitted diseases.
What Are the Possible Complications of Bacterial Vaginosis?
Untreated BV can result in significant complications and health risks. These include:
When screening for bacterial vaginosis, the vaginal area is swabbed to check for the presence of bacteria that could cause the condition. This can be done by examining the sample under a microscope to detect these bacterial cells or by performing a molecular analysis to check for bacterial components.
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Numerous female patients with bacterial vaginosis exhibit no symptoms and do not require treatment. Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy may raise the possibility of a preterm birth. It is unclear whether diagnosing and treating bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy lowers the risk of preterm birth.
Theoretically, detecting and treating pregnant women who are unaware that they have bacterial vaginosis will lower their risk of giving birth prematurely. Although it is unknown if bacterial vaginosis increases the risk of preterm birth, it appears that treatment does not appear to help most pregnant women avoid preterm birth. The risks of screening women without symptoms for bacterial vaginosis are relatively low. The negative effects of screening include the stomach discomfort or vaginal yeast infections that can occur during antibiotic treatment.
Most of the “good” bacteria in the normal vaginal microbiome belong to the Lactobacillus genus. A change in this microbiome that favors other types of bacteria over Lactobacillus bacteria leads to bacterial vaginosis. Some women may experience bothersome symptoms from these other bacteria, such as vaginal discharge and odor.
How does a pregnant woman get a bacterial infection?
Can BV clear up on its own pregnancy?
Is BV serious in pregnancy?
Does BV increase chance of pregnancy?