Two in five women have Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), but 84% of those don’t know they have it.
In fact, it is the most common form of vaginal infection, yet not many people know about it.
BV occurs when the normal balance of good bacteria is overtaken by certain types of harmful bacteria. It is often misdiagnosed as thrush or as a yeast infection. Common symptoms include a fishy odor around the vagina, abnormal grey discharge, and vaginal discomfort like itching and burning. However, 50-75% of women with BV don’t experience any symptoms.
This is especially troubling because, according to the NIH, BV is associated with preterm labor, preterm birth, and preterm PROM (premature rupture of membranes). Therefore it is especially important for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant to be aware (and beware) of BV.
Five things every mother-to-be needs to know about BV
- Pregnant women with BV are more likely to have an early delivery or a baby with low birth weight.
- Women who have BV are 60% more susceptible to HIV and other STIs, like herpes and chlamydia, than those without BV.
- BV can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious condition that can infect female reproductive organs, affecting a woman’s ability to get pregnant or have a healthy pregnancy.
- BV puts you at a higher risk for infections after surgeries affecting the reproductive system, including hysterectomies, abortions, and cesarean deliveries.
- Even during pregnancy, BV can be treated and prevented through awareness and good hygiene. If you are trying to become pregnant, get screened early for BV. You can do it yourself with a kit you buy at the drug store, or ask your gynecologist for help. Always follow good genital hygiene — for tips, check out our Genital Hygiene 101. And since there’s good evidence that BV is caused by the petrochemical ingredients in conventional lubricants, try by all means to avoid using petroleum-based products, especially during pregnancy. Good Clean Love is on a mission to restore vaginal health through its products and educate women about the risks of BV. (You can read more about BV here.)