What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Sometimes referred to simply as ‘BV’, bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection that is caused by an imbalance in bacteria. The vagina contains many different types of bacteria, classified as good and bad. Most of the time these bacteria balance one another out to keep the vagina clean and healthy. But when there is too much or not enough of both types of bacteria, bacterial vaginosis occurs.
Who Gets BV?
Eventually all women will be at risk of getting BV because it most often affects women who are pre and post-menopausal. Menopause often causes a shift in hormones, which can affect the bacterial balance within the body. The same is true of post-menopausal women, although not quite as frequently.
On rare occasions BV can be present in women of child–bearing age, particularly during pre-term pregnancy. The earlier BV occurs in a pregnancy the greater the chances are for premature labor and delivery. If you are or could be pregnant and notice BV symptoms, see your physician right away.
The good news is that bacterial vaginosis is not a serious medical problem and it can be easily treated. The bad news is that BV can sometimes accompany back pain.
Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms
When women find out that back pain can be a symptom of BV they often wonder how to differentiate regular back pain from bacterial vaginosis related back pain. There are two symptoms common to BV; vaginal odor and discharge. Unfortunately these symptoms are common for many vaginal infections so if you aren’t pre or post-menopausal chances are these symptoms are not indicative of BV.
Many women suffering from bacterial vaginosis may never experience any symptoms, but those who do will experience greater discharge and odor after sex.
If left untreated, the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis can worsen over time. The odor may become worse, you will experience larger amounts of discharge that is thicker and darker in color. Untreated BV can cause greater susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases and long term back pain.
BV & Back Pain
There can be many causes for bacterial vaginosis but one of the most common causes is douching. Although long thought to be an effective method of vaginal cleansing, the fact is that douching alters the bacterial balance of the vagina, increasing the risk. Multiple sex partners may also cause BV however many women who are abstinent suffer from BV as well.
Although back pain is not a symptom of bacterial vaginosis, it has been known to occur most likely due to its proximity to the back. Other medical issues such as urinary tract infections and menstrual cramps have also been known to lead to back pain. Mostly though when problems in the pelvic area are left untreated, they can lead to problems with the kidneys or complications due to the bacteria.
If you’ve recently had bacterial vaginosis, a yeast infection or urinary tract infection and you have back pain, specifically lower back pain, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist immediately.
For most women bacterial vagniosis is a mild infection that often goes away on its own. Vaginal gels and cream can alleviate the symptoms or treat BV, but the best most effective method of treatment is antibiotics to kill the infection. Although antibiotics don’t guarantee that BV won’t return, letting it go away on its own increases the likelihood of it coming back.
Whether you are pregnant or pre-menopausal the treatment for bacterial vaginosis is the same. If you are sexually active and recognize the symptoms of BV it is important to get diagnosed right away.
The best course of action is to get a bacterial vaginosis diagnosis as soon as you can so that treatment can commence right away.
Written By: Updated: June 24,2011