What Causes BV?

By jolene
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BV (bacterial vaginosis) is a condition where there is excessive growth of bacteria in the vagina. This condition is also known as nonspecific vaginitis. Patients with BV experience multiple issues due to the excessive bacterial growth. BV can also be associated with an increased risk of other complications such as higher risk of sexually transmitted infections and early delivery in pregnant women.

BV is the commonest vaginal infection among women who are in the reproductive age group. The overgrowth of the bacteria results in an imbalance of naturally occurring bacteria in the vagina. It is most commonly due to a bacteria known as Gardnerella vaginalis, which is an anaerobic bacteria that has been found to cause a variety of infections but is most recognized for its role in BV.

1. Pathophysiology

The excessive overgrowth of bacteria in BV results in vaginal odor and increased discharge. Although most commonly caused by Gardnerella vaginalis, other bacteria that may contribute to the infection are of the Eubacterium, Mobiluncus, Fusobacterium, Peptostreptococcus, Bacteroides, and Veilonella species. The overgrowth alters the balance of the vaginal flora, resulting in an increase of the local pH, which in turn, reduces the population of lactobacilli.

Lactobacilli are important as these organisms help maintain the acidic pH in normal vaginas and inhibit the growth of other harmful bacteria. Gardnerella vaginalis may form a biofilm that can be resistant to medical treatment.


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