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Our bodies play host to millions of microbes and bacteria. While this may sound gross, these little buddies actually play a big role in our overall health and well-being! But an upset in the balance of bacteria can lead to trouble and discomfort. If you’ve started noticing less-than-pleasant changes in your lady bits, this imbalance may just be the culprit.

 

WHAT IS BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS?

Bacterial vaginosis (also known by its very appropriate acronym, BV) is a bacterial infection of the vagina. The good news is that BV is considered more of a nuisance than a danger. The bad news? It’s also one of the most common vaginal complaints, affecting around 28% of vaginas in the Philippines.

 

BV is different from a vaginal yeast infection and is NOT a sexually transmitted infection. However, it does share some symptoms with both yeast infections and trichomoniasis, which is an STI.

 

HOW DO YOU GET BV?

Bacteria populations are very sensitive to the pH of their environment. Any changes in the chemistry of your vagina’s pH can also cause an imbalance in bacteria levels, which can lead to BV. Things that can cause this change include douching, using perfumed soaps, and going through a round of antibiotics.

 

While it isn’t an STI, it’s still possible for sex to cause BV. This is because the mingling of bacteria between partners can sometimes change the balance in your/your partner’s natural genital chemistry (sexy, I know).

 

WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF BV?

Some BV cases don’t show symptoms or have symptoms that are mild or come and go. The most common symptoms include:

      • Vaginal discharge that’s thin and/or foamy
      • Vaginal discharge that’s colored dull grey, white, or greenish
      • A ‘fishy’ odor from both discharge and vagina that may become stronger after vaginal sex
      • A burning or itching sensation when you pee.

HOW IS BV TREATED?

Thankfully, most cases of BV have a quick fix. A round of antibiotics like Neo-Penotran is usually all that’s needed to get rid of BV. And, FYI, it’s also used as a yeast infection treatment and medicine for trichomoniasis.

 

HOW DO I AVOID GETTING BV IN THE FIRST PLACE?

While Dima’s shop has medicine for vaginal infections, prevention is still the best medicine! 

      • Avoid using scented products on and around your vagina. This includes scented feminine washes, tampons, soaps, and toilet paper.
      • Don’t douche! Your vagina is self-cleaning. It really doesn’t need an interior power-wash. 
      • Moist environments are great for bacterial growth, so don’t hang out in wet bathing suits or clothes. While we’re at it, make sure your underwear (or at least its crotch) is made of cotton or another breathable material.
      • Change your tampons and pads every 4-8 hours. 
      • Clean your sex toys and menstrual cups carefully and according to their care instructions.
      • Butt bacteria and vagina bacteria are not a good combination. Make sure to wipe carefully after using the bathroom, and always front to back. Also, if you incorporate butt play into your sexcapades, make sure to always wash fingers/sex toys/penises before they re-enter your vagina (or put on a new condom).
      • Some people can be sensitive to certain lubricants, spermicides, or latex condoms. If you get BV or notice vaginal itching or burning after using any of these, try a different brand.
      • Know thyself! If you know what your vulva usually looks and smells like, you’ll know when something changes.
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