Approximately 7.4 million new cases of bacterial vaginosis are diagnosed in the United States each ...
Read the full transcript »
Approximately 7.4 million new cases of bacterial vaginosis are diagnosed in the United States each year, making it the most common vaginal infection among women of childbearing age. Normally, there is a complex and intricate balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina. Helpful bacteria keep the growth of harmful bacteria in check, and the normal acidity or pH of the vagina inhibits their growth. This normal balance is sometimes altered through a variety of different mechanisms. The population of good bacteria, such as a type called lactobacilli, are reduced and replaced by harmful bacteria, which increase and cause symptoms. One type is called Gardnerella vaginalis. Another is called Mobiluncus. Overgrowth of these and other harmful bacteria can cause vaginal irritation, itching, unpleasant odor, and a sticky white or gray discharge. Diagnosis usually involves a pelvic exam and laboratory tests. Although it may resolve without treatment, the infection should be treated to prevent possible complications.