We don’t frequently refer to bacterial vaginosis as Gardnerella Vaginalis, but that’s exactly what it is.  No matter what you call it, bacterial vaginosis is an unpleasant vaginal infection to suffer.  Knowing the causes and treatments of this infection can make it easier to deal with.

What causes bacterial infections?
The vagina contains many different kinds of bacteria that usually live together in harmony. Balance in the vagina means you stay healthy and feeling fresh.  However, some things can disrupt the delicate system and cause certain kinds of bacteria to outgrow other kinds. In the case of bacterial vaginosis, the type of bacteria outgrowing everything else is called Gardnerella (gardnerella vaginalis).

What are the symptoms?
The most telling symptom of bacterial vaginosis is a “smelly vagina.”  Other symptoms may include itching, burning, swelling, redness, soreness, and a change in discharge.  If unusual discharge is present, it’s usually a grayish color and abnormally watery.  Some women believe they’re suffering from a yeast infection when they actually have a Gardnerella infection.  If you’re confused about your symptoms and want confirmation about the type of infection you have, a doctor can easily do this.

Gardnerella VaginalisWhy do bacteria become unbalanced?
There are many things that could cause the bacterial conditions in the vagina to become unbalanced.  Some kind of outside irritation is the most common factor.  Things like fragrances and dyes in feminine hygiene products and toilet paper frequently cause irritation of the vagina, as do soaps, creams and cleansing wipes that contain harsh ingredients. Douching is notorious for causing vaginal infections, because it removes the good bacteria from the vagina as well as the bad.

Are there risk factors for this infection?
Bacterial vaginosis is thought to have some relationship with sexual activity.  Women who have multiple sex partners or who have new partners frequently are at a higher risk of contracting this type of infection.  Unprotected sex also puts you at a higher risk of bacterial infections because semen can irritate sensitive vaginas and throw off conditions inside the vagina.  It’s good practice to wear a condom every time you have sex, not only to prevent bacterial infections but to stop the spread of other, more serious diseases.

What should I do about a bacterial infection?
Gardnerella infections are easily treatable, either through prescription medications or home remedies.  You should always see a doctor before starting any kind of home treatment, just to make sure you know exactly what the condition is and don’t accidentally treat for something else.  Good luck and stay healthy!