Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy (vaginal dysbiosis, gardnerellosis) is one of the most common vaginal infections in women. This disease is caused by an imbalance of bacteria living in the vagina. Approximately 1 in 5 women of childbearing age, this infection is detected, and during pregnancy, every second expectant mother suffers from vaginosis.
If the vaginal microflora is normal, it is colonized by “good” bacteria, called lactobacilli, which maintain a balance between all bacteria in the vaginal environment. Vaginal dysbacteriosis appears when lactobacilli become too small, which allows other bacteria to get out of control and multiply.
Effect of Bacterial Vaginosis on Pregnancy
Studies have shown that the presence of vaginal dysbiosis in a pregnant woman is associated with an increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight, premature rupture of the fetal membranes and infections of the uterus after birth. Several studies have shown a link between vaginosis and the risk of miscarriage in the second trimester of pregnancy.
However, more than half of women who have bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy completely nurture pregnancy and give birth to healthy children. And in 40% of cases, vaginal dysbacteriosis in pregnant women goes away by itself. But keep in mind that vaginosis makes you more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV / AIDS.
Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis
At least half of women who have vaginal dysbiosis do not have any symptoms at all. This course of the disease is called asymptomatic.
If the symptoms are still there, then the woman may notice increased vaginal discharge, white, greenish or gray, which may be foamy and liquid, and may be thick and sticky. Such secretions are characterized by an unpleasant smell of rotten fish, which becomes most apparent after sex, when the discharge is mixed with sperm. A woman may also feel a burning sensation during urination or irritation of the genital area, although this is not common.
Your gynecologist must be aware of these symptoms! If you have any complaints or if you suspect vaginosis (during a vaginal examination), your doctor will take swabs of the vaginal and cervical secretions to confirm (or refute) you have bacterial vaginosis or another vaginal infection. If any infection is detected, you will need to undergo a course of appropriate treatment.
Treatment of bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy
If you have confirmed bacterial vaginosis, then you will need to undergo a course of antibiotics, which are considered safe for admission during pregnancy.
It is important to take all the medicines you have prescribed from the first to the last day of the course, even if any symptoms have disappeared. In most cases, the disappearance of the symptoms speaks only of the remission of the infection, but as soon as you stop taking the drugs, the infection will recur. A recurrent disease is usually more severe and is less amenable to treatment.
But even if you follow all the recommendations of the doctor exactly, the secondary appearance of the infection is not excluded. In almost 30% of women treated, vaginosis symptoms recur in the first three months after a course of antibiotic therapy. Such a relapse is due to the fact that antibiotics kill most of the bacteria that cause bacterial vaginosis, and along with them, the useful microflora is also killed. And, unfortunately, there is no way to make “good” bacteria grow faster, so “harmful” bacteria can multiply again. With a recurrent course of the disease, you will need to undergo re-treatment, which your attending physician will select for you.
Prevention of bacterial vaginosis
Until now, scientists can not say exactly what causes vaginal dysbiosis, so there are practically no preventive measures that you could take to not catch this infection. However, there are several ways that can reduce the risk of getting this disease:
one. Stick to safe sex (use a condom), especially if you or your partner have sex with other people. It is not entirely clear what role female sexual activity plays in the initiation of vaginosis, but this disease is quite rare in women who do not have sex, and most often it occurs in women who have multiple sexual partners or often successive men.
2 Stop smoking! If you smoke, here you have another reason to quit this bad habit! Smoking increases the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis.
3 Do not douche, Do not flush the vagina with a stream of water from the shower, do not use sprays for intimate hygiene or toilet soap to wash genitals. All this can disrupt the fragile balance of bacteria in the vagina.
In addition to the risk of development bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy, douching in any case is not safe for the future mother! In extremely rare cases, douching can lead to the ingress of air under the membranes of fetal bladder, from where air enters the woman’s circulatory system and causes an air embolism, which is extremely life-threatening.