We have spent quite a bit of time on the topic of Bacterial Vaginosis and we don't plan on stopping the discussion just yet, not when there is still an abundance of confusion based on what untreated BV can turn into and if it’s passable from person to person. So, right off the bat, we would be to begin by saying that in most cases BV does not cause any other health conditions if not treated promptly. Although delaying treatment is not advised therefore once you know you have an infection like BV you’ll want it to clear up right away with either antibiotics or alternative methods. Even though it’s not common for untreated BV to cause a severe problem, in all cases, it still can happen to many women who leave their BV treated! If Bacterial Vaginosis is left untreated it can increase your risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease where the bacteria from the BV can end up infecting the uterus or fallopian tubes. An increased risk of an STD and pelvic inflammatory disease are two severe reasons to ensure that you do not leave your BV treated!
What are the dangers that can arise with untreated BV?
Above, we briefly discussed how untreated BV could potentially end up increasing your risk of a much more severe health issue that could have been avoided or limited if the BV was treated with antibiotics or alternative methods like probiotics or boric acid. Leaving Bacterial Vaginosis untreated can trigger several intimate health concerns that every woman should be aware of therefore we have included a list of what BV could potentially lead to if left untreated…
- An increased risk of contracting an SDT like Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (where bacteria can affect the uterus and/or fallopian tubes).
- An increased risk of an infection after a procedure on the female organs.
- It could also trigger early labour/birth if you are pregnant with BV.
After reading that list, of what could arise if BV is left untreated, you might feel a little worried or anxious if you have BV but do not panic. If you know you have BV, based on your symptoms, then it's advised that you speak to your GP or a sexual health clinic specialist to help you find an appropriate course of treatment. You might be prescribed oral antibiotics that could help clear up your BV within 3-7 days or a similar type of medication. For a milder or less severe infection of BV, you might be advised to use antibiotics gels to apply directly into the vagina which you can then take probiotics alongside to support your vaginal flora and intimate bacterial levels. Prevention is just as important as treating BV after all; to ensure that the infection does not recur or become chronic BV.
Can BV turn into STD if not treated?
Bacterial Vaginosis, even if it’s left untreated (unknowing or not) will not turn into an STD. Furthermore, Bacterial Vaginosis is also NOT classified as a sexually transmitted disease or infection! The only true link between BV and an STD or STI is the increased risk you are of contracting an STD or STI should you have sexual intercourse whilst you have BV. Your intimate bacterial and vaginal flora will already be impacted by the ‘harmful’ bacteria that is causing your BV infection, therefore further disrupting that bacteria can make your intimate bacteria even more susceptible to picking up more ‘bad’ bacteria that can further enhance your infection. Therefore, you might want to refrain from sexual activity or stay protected during sexual activity with whom you are treating or have BV.
Can you pass BV during sexual activity?
Once again, Bacterial Vaginosis has not considered a sexually transmitted disease as sexual activity with multiple partners (unprotected) can only increase your chances of contracting BV. The reason benign is that sexual activity is not the only method of contracting the infection, as you can affect your intimate bacteria, unknowingly, every day. It can come from the clothing material you wear, and how rigorous you are with your hygiene if you use douching or scented protection on your intimate area and then lifestyle choices can also affect your intimate health. Things like an unbalanced diet and smoking can drastically affect your intimate bacteria causing potential disruption to your vaginal flora. Whilst you cannot necessarily pass BV through sexual intercourse, it can be spread in other ways that could affect another sexual partner or multiple; if you share uncleaned sex toys or engage in oral or hand-contact sexual activity. These areas of the body can pick up and therefore house the BV bacteria which can then spread to their own body.
Can BV spread to other parts of the body?
The ‘harmful’ bacteria that are responsible for Bacterial Vaginosis typically only reside inside the vagina but can be found in the mouth and fingers as well in some cases. The bacteria, inside the vagina, can cause several symptoms that could spread to other organs but usually only if the bacteria increases significantly and overgrows. We have already mentioned that BV bacteria could affect your uterus and fallopian tubes if left untreated or left to overgrow. What's more, the symptoms of BV can cause you pain throughout the stomach like bloating abdominal pain and cramping which is not pleasant. Therefore, not only could untreated BV lead to a significant number of problems concerning your intimate health, but the symptoms of BV could cause pain throughout the body.
That is why BV should always be treated as soon as you believe that you have any symptoms of BV!We hope you find the Health Insider Blog helpful and a reliable resource that aims to answer all your most pressing questions relating to the topic of Bacterial Vaginosis as well as debunk some very common myths and misinformation! If you have any personal questions or want additional support on a query relating to your BV, then you can send us a DM on Instagram where we aim to get to you as soon as possible!