Bacterial vaginosis is a mild bacterial infection which can cause highly disturbing symptoms such as vaginal irritation, itching, painful urination and vaginal discharge. Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis resemble to those in vaginal yeast infection but bacterial infection typically includes a foul, fishy-smelling vaginal odor and grayish white discharge, while yeast infection causes a cottage cheese-like discharge without any unpleasant odor.

There is only one way to get rid of bacterial vaginosis. Like most other bacterial infections, bacterial vaginosis requires antibiotic treatment. Many women treated bacterial vaginosis with Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements and yogurt containing live cultures for years but dietary lactobacillus has been shown ineffective. For that reason you are highly recommended to visit your doctor to prescribe you antibiotics if having symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. You should also visit your doctor if you tried home treatment or over-the-counter medications for yeast infection and your symptoms persist.

In most cases, bacterial vaginosis does not cause any serious complications but it is believed to increase the risk of infection with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and can cause preterm labor in pregnant women. Bacterial vaginosis is not considered a sexually transmitted disease because it can also occur in women who are not sexually active but it can spread through unprotected sexual contacts with an infected person.

Bacterial vaginosis is caused by unbalance between the good and the bad bacteria in the vagina. Normally, the good bacteria inhibit overgrowth of the bad bacteria but when the balance is disrupted the bad ones quickly overgrow the good ones and cause highly upsetting symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. It remains unknown what causes overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina but scientists have identified several factors that may increase the risk of this very common vaginal infection.

At increased risk of bacterial vaginosis are women who have multiple sexual partners or a new sexual partner, women who have sex with women and women whose vaginal environment does not produce adequate amounts of lactobacillus bacteria. Douching is also believed to trigger overgrowth of the bad bacteria in the vagina because it disrupts a healthy balance between the microorganisms that normally live in the vagina.

You cannot avoid the use of antibiotics if having bacterial vaginosis but you can take care for preventive measures that may help you avoid the recurrence of this highly disturbing vaginal infection, especially if experiencing frequent recurrences. Limit your sexual activities to a single partner and use condoms if having multiple sexual partners. That way you will not only reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis but numerous sexually transmitted diseases as well.

You should avoid douching because the vagina does not require cleansing. On the contrary, it has been shown to contribute to bacterial vaginosis rather than preventing it because it disrupts the balance between the good and the bad bacteria in your vagina. You are also highly recommended to avoid using harsh soaps that may cause vaginal irritation and use warm water instead of hot water.