What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?

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Bacterial vaginosis is an imbalance in the bacteria normally found within the vagina so that levels of beneficial, lactic-acid producing probiotic bacteria (Lactobacilli) are reduced or absent, and there is an overgrowth of smelly bacteria (such as Gardnerella and Bacteroides) which are usually only present in small numbers.

These ‘smelly’ anaerobic bacteria thrive in the absence of oxygen by breaking down proteins to form chemicals known as amines which produce a characteristic ‘fishy’ odour, cause irritation and an unpleasant discharge.

As bacterial vaginosis is not a true infection, but an imbalance of bacteria that are normally present, it can be treated using remedies that restore the natural vaginal pH balance. Sometimes specific antibiotics are needed to get on top of the imbalance, but it is likely to recur unless you adopt measures that keep your vaginal pH balance acidic.