Bacterial Vaginosis (Causes, Symptoms, Treatment) (cont.)

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Can bacterial vaginosis be prevented?

Because the cause and development of bacterial vaginosis is poorly understood, it can be difficult to take measures to prevent it from occurring. Reducing certain risk factors, such as limiting the number of sex partners, avoiding the use of vaginal douches, and taking all medications as directed when being treated for bacterial vaginosis, can help reduce a woman's risk of developing bacterial vaginosis.

What are the complications of bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis can resolve completely without complications after treatment. No special follow-up is necessary if the symptoms disappear.

Women with bacterial vaginosis are at increased risk for contracting HIV infection as well as other STDs including genital herpes, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.

In pregnancy, bacterial vaginosis has been linked to premature labor, but the relationship is still not clear. Treatment is often recommended prior to hysterectomy, C-section (Cesarean birth), or IUD insertion in order to avoid spread of the disease into the pelvic organs.

However, treatment of bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy that is not causing symptoms has not been shown to decrease the incidence of premature births in most studies. For these reasons, screening and treatment for bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy is controversial, and research is still being conducted to determine its utility and value. Currently, routine screening of all pregnant women is not recommended. However, screening and treatment of bacterial vaginosis is sometimes recommended for women with a history of a preterm birth.

What is the prognosis (outlook) for bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis can be cured with antibiotics. Even after a woman has been cured, however, the condition often recurs. A second course of antibiotics is necessary if a woman experiences recurrent bacterial vaginosis that produces symptoms.

Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology.

REFERENCES:

CDC.gov. Bacterial Vaginosis.

Medscape. Bacterial Vaginosis.


Medscape. Vaginitis.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/4/2014

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