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BV or Thrush? Is there a difference?
This entry was posted on 03/08/2016.
Never heard of Bacterial Vaginosis? You're not alone. Many women automatically assume if something changes 'down there' they must have Thrush or worse. If you notice discomfort or a change in your nether regions there are 3 types of vaginal infection that need to be considered; a yeast infection (Thrush), bacterial infection (BV) or a trichomoniasis infection (Sexually Transmitted Disease)
What is BV?
Bacterial Vaginosis (or BV) was formally called gardnerella vaginalis and is a vaginal infection that is actually the most common cause of vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. BV occurs when there is a change in the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. Your vagina has a natural level of acidity which works to prevent bacteria from growing. This balance of acidity is your pH balance; if your pH balance is disrupted and the acidity level drops it can allow bacteria to take over.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, approximately 12% to 30% of adult women in the UK may be affected by BV; about 20% of pregnant women in the UK are affected.
What causes BV?
It is not entirely clear what causes BV and any woman can develop BV at any time. However, there are some things that can heighten the chances of your pH balance being disrupted such as douching or bathing with perfumed or antiseptic soaps and bubble solutions, having a new or multiple sexual partners, washing your underwear with strong detergents, your period and the use of tampons, and the use of vaginal deodorants.
Most common symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
- Unpleasant odour
- Watery discharge
- Greyish white discharge
- Hightened symptoms after sex or during your period
Your vagina is naturally slightly acidic and cleaning too thoroughly, for example by douching, can reduce this acidity; intefering with the vagina's pH levels and setting the stage for bacterial infections.
What is Thrush?
Thrush is a vaginal yeast infection from a group of fungi called Candida. You can have Candida in your vagina without it causing you any problem at all but if the natural pH balance in the vagina is disrupted, it can allow the Candida to take over.
What causes Thrush?
There are a number of things that can increase your chances of developing Thrush; pregnancy, wearing tight clothing or sythetic materials which prevent ventilation, taking some medications such as antibiotics, and the use of hygiene products which are heavily perfumed such as general soaps, showe gels and bubble bath solutions.
3 out of 4 women will have Thrush at some point in their lives. Men can also get genital Thrush but these cases are much less common.
Most common symptoms of Thrush
- Itching and soreness around the entrance to the vagina
- Odourless discharge
- Pain during sex
- Stinging sentation when urinating
Many women mistake BV for vaginal Thrush but they are actually two very different types of infection which require different forms of treatment. If you think you may be suffering from either BV or Thrush for the first time, it's best to visit you GP. However, if you suffer with recurring BV or recurring Thrush and are able to recognise the symptoms, you can treat the problem at home.
If you think you symptoms could be that of something more that BV or Thrush and there's a chance you could have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) we recommend you visit your GP or local sexual health clinic. Here they will test you clinically and provide you with the medication you need to treat the infection. There will however be a delay in receiving your results and for this reason you may want to do you own at-home Chlamydia test too for peace of mind in as little as 10 minutes but this should always be along side a test and treatment provided by a health professional.
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