Is bacterial vaginosis contagious like an STD? What is the BV definition?

By | July 26, 2017

The vagina is swarmed by numerous good bacteria which keeps the vaginal environment free from bad bacteria. But due to the interference of other external factors and unknown causes, the bad bacteria grows rapidly and outnumbers the good bacteria and if remained unattended, this may raise red flags on the vagina’s ph. Level and will eventually lead to bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis is characterized by the presence of malodorous vaginal discharge which is caused by bacterial overgrowth. It is also notable the patients has fewer lactobacilli level present in the vagina during vaginosis infection.

BV symptoms that you need to be aware of

Most cases are asymptomatic but other patients noticed its symptoms after its incubation period.

1. Excessive vaginal discharge
2. Presence of grayish white or yellow vaginal discharge
3. Malodorous vaginal discharge with a fish-like smell
4. Vaginal discharge has is highly noticeable after sexual contact.
5. Painful urination
6. Pain during sexual intercourse.

Lactobacilli is present in the vagina and is often referred as good bacteria. It produces hydrogen peroxide which keeps the vaginal environment clean. But due to the presence of various anaerobic microorganisms, the infection occurs.

The causes of BV remains unknown and researchers’ continue working in unraveling that secret. But for the meantime, its risk factors were introduced to inform the public.

Risk Factors for BV

Risk factors are defined as the level of chances for someone to acquire a disease. As for Bacterial Vaginosis, here are some of its risk factors:

*multiple and or new sex partners
*Use of intra-uterine device as birth control method
*antibiotic medications
*vaginal douching
*smoking
*unprotected sex
*subclinical iron deficiency in pregnant women
*psychosocial stress
*Vitamin D deficiency

Mode of transmission

Female to female sexual activity- From its name itself, bacterial vaginosis is a health condition that occurs among women and unprotected sexual activity between two females may increase their risks of acquiring the condition. Researchers believe that it is diffused from the vaginal microbiota via the perennial enteric bacteria.

Men’s involvement in BV- Researchers believes that men are safe from this condition. But it doesn’t mean that they are not infected. The bacteria may not alter their health condition but men’s genital serves as a reservoir. It has been proven that BV microbiota is present in males’ urethra, penis, and coronal sulcus. Uncircumcised men have a higher level of BV microbiota as compared to the circumcised ones. This explains why most cases of BV occurs on sexually active women.

Bacterial Vaginosis may or may not be transmitted via sexual intercourse due to the lack of study and research to back up those theories but since it has been proven that female to female sexual contact transmits the bacteria, it is safe to say that it is indeed a sexually transmitted disease.

Transmission via male-female intercourse has not been proven yet but the fact that a high percentage of infected patients came from the sexually active population may connote a concept that maybe, BV can be transmitted via heterosexual intercourse but the condition does not affect men’s health condition.