Does bacterial vaginosis cause infertility or miscarriage?

By | July 5, 2017

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal condition that usually occurs and recurs among women aging 15-44 years old. It is not exactly a sexually transmitted disease or a bacterial infection but a disturbance of the bacterial flora that occurs in the vagina and nowhere else in the body (i.e. not transmissible to the mouth of a partner or to a penis). This disturbance in the microflora leads to the proliferation of atypical bacteria like Lactobacillus and Garnerella which in turn cause disturbing symptoms.
It is often a cause for alarm for women and the question, does bacterial vaginosis cause infertility or miscarriage, persists?

Most women do not show any symptoms but the signs of this condition usually involve:

* Increase in vaginal discharge

* Changes in the quality of vaginal discharge (thin to watery discharge, white to greyish discharge)

* Strong, unpleasant, fishy odor of the vagina
Conditions that put some women at higher risks of developing BV include:

* Having a new and/ or multiple sexual partners

* Poor hygiene

* Excessive hygiene (i.e. douching or using vaginal deodorant/ antiseptics)

* semen in the vagina during unprotected sex

* predisposing genetic factors
BV is not life-threatening though worse cases may lead to contracting other STDs. There is also greater concern for pregnant women as BV may lead to premature or underweight babies. BV is also often self-limited and goes away on its own but for worse scenarios that overlooked treatment, BV can lead to complications that put women into further risks.

When the bacterial imbalance has spread to the uterus and possibly into the fallopian tubes, BV can develop into a pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). BV spreading up to this point also increases the chance of miscarriage and infertility in women.

Oral sex can disturb the vaginal flora and lead to BV without infecting the mouth of the person providing the stimulation. It is however possible for a sexual partner giving oral sex to contract other STDs in the mouth caused by other organisms and not BV.

Diagnostic tests can be taken to verify the occurrence of BV. Most infected people won’t need it but pregnant or possibly pregnant women might want to take extra precautions. A diagnosis of BV can lead to being prescribed with antibiotics. Different treatment may however be provided for pregnant women so make sure to inform your attending physician of your conditions.

The exact cause and pathogenesis of BV is yet to be elucidated but certain precautions may be taken to reduce the chances of acquiring it. It is however important to note that sexual intercourse is not the only factor that can lead to BV. Women who are not sexually active can also develop this imbalance for personal reasons like improper or poor hygiene.

To further reduce the chances of developing BV, women can opt to completely avoid sex. When in a sexual relationship, it is then advised to practice monogamous sexual relationships and protected sex with a condom.

If you are an expecting woman or if your symptoms persist, worsen, or develop other serious signs, immediately see your physician to undergo a diagnostic exam and to avail appropriate treatment.

So, does bacterial vaginosis cause infertility or miscarriage? There is no direct correlation, but women with BV are put at greater risk.