Bacterial Vaginosis, also referred to as BV, is a very common vaginal infection that affects millions of women worldwide. Even though it does affect such a large number of women, it is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) as it is not ‘spread’ or contracted during interocurse the same way as other bacterial infections can. Bacterial Vaginosis can occur in women who have never engaged in sexual activity with another person, another reason it cannot be deemed as an STI. Although several situations and scenarios can increase a woman's risk of contracting a vaginal infection; the most likely instances will occur in women with multipulse sexual partners as well as women who use douching or harsh and heavily-scented products on their intimate areas. Even if you are a smoker; this can throw your intimate pH balance right off and also increase your risk of developing BV. Therefore, as you can see it doesn't matter whether you are sexually active or not, any woman can get BV.
In today's blog post, we will be exploring why some women are more likely to get BV as well as answering some common questions that surround this bacterial infection. We shall be exploring the prevalence of Bacterial Vaginosis in women and whether some women are immune to the infection as well as those who might be more likely to get the infection. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of the factors that contribute to BV and how to reduce the risk of developing it.
How common is BV in women?
Bacterial Vaginosis, believe it or not, is one of the most common vaginal infections in women of reproductive age. Even though BV is extremely common and believed to affect most women at least once in their lifetime; that doesn't mean it cannot be treated quickly. Clearing up and treating an infection like BV is not generally considered too difficult although it can be hard to recognise or even notice that anything is off in your intimate area; its symptoms are not always noticeable right away. Many women, who suffer from Bacterial Vaginosis, have reported that they did not notice any symptoms right away and by the time they did their infection had become more prominent. Although, there is also a large number of women who can detect that something is off with their intimate health pretty early on and source treatment that does not require a formal doctor's visit; over-the-counter antibiotics, gels, creams. This further supports the belief that BV is much more common than it may be expected; like we said it’s believed most women will get BV at least once in their life.
Are some women more prone to BV than others?
Just as we said earlier, BV can affect any woman whether they are sexually active or not; which again means it’s not classified as an STI (for that reason). Many women worry that they are more prone to BV as they are sexually active and it is believed that these women are more likely to get BV than those who have never engaged in sexual activity or intercourse. However, it’s important to remember that you could be sexually active with one reoccurring partner and still be prone to BV; as it’s an infection that can occur when the intimate flora and bacteria are disturbed. A woman's intimate bacteria can get disrupted by not just sexual activity but also douching, using heavily-scented intimate products, smoking and not practising good intimate hygiene (sitting in damp or sweaty underwear can be a breeding ground for this type of bacteria.
Does every woman get BV?
It's a very common misconception that every woman will get bacterial vaginosis (BV) at some point in their life, but that's not strictly the case. While BV is a common vaginal infection that affects many women, not all women will experience it! However, there are of course several factors such as having multiple sexual partners, douching and smoking that can increase the risk of developing BV. However this does not mean every woman will get BV, it’s just estimated that many women may be likely to experience BV at some point in their lives (whether sexually active or not; it doesn't matter).
Can a woman with the same sexual partner still get BV?
The short answer, as you may have now speculated is yes; a woman can still get BV even if they only have one sexual partner. Even though it is believed that women with multiple sexual partners do have a higher risk of contracting BV, it’s important to note that BV is not always linked to sexual activity and therefore cannot be in direct relation to a woman's sexual activity or partner(s). BV can occur in women who have never had sex as well as it can occur in women with one or more sexual partners! After all, Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when there is an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria in the intimate area that disrupted the natural balance of bacteria. Whilst sexual activity is still a risk factor for BV it’s not the only one! We’ve explored several reasons and situations that can trigger BV that are not related to a women's sexual activity, therefore, the number of partners is not always a direct cause of getting Bacterial Vaginosis. The best way to protect your intimate flora against disruption during any sexual activity is to wear protection but even this is not a guarantee that you’ll not get BV only a way to help limit your chances.
Can pregnant women still get BV?
The final question, on this topic, we would like to answer is surrounding pregnant women and whether or not they can still get BV; the answer here is yes! BV is again one of the most common vaginal infections that can occur during pregnancy as a women's intimate flora can be heavily disrupted; to be expected in many cases. No woman with a vagina and vaginal flora is considered immune to BV and that includes pregnant women. Whilst BV can typically be cleared up quickly and cause no major health complaints in many women, it can increase the risks of complications in childbirth which is why it’s important to seek medical advice promptly if you are pregnant and suspect that you have BV.
If you suspect that you have BV or are experiencing any unusual vaginal symptoms, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Taking steps to reduce your risk of developing BV, such as practising good hygiene and wearing protection during any sexual activity; can all help to keep your intimate flora protected from disruptions.