Monday, August 19, 2013

Ask Us Anything: Is Frequent Bacterial Vaginosis Normal?

"Does an IUD cause more frequent infections? Also, is frequent bacterial vaginosis normal? How may I prevent it from recurring?"

Dr. Diane Sutter Responds: 

An IUD does not cause more frequent infections.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a common condition in women. It is an overgrowth of normal bacteria that is found in the vagina of every woman.

The normal pH of the healthy vagina is 4 to 4.5 (more acidic). When something happens to disrupt the normal flora of the vagina, the pH gets higher (greater than 5.0) and patients may notice an irritated, raw, feeling; a vaginal discharge; the classic "fishy" odor, especially after urinating or intercourse; and a woman may complain of being a "little itchy".

Causative factors that disrupt the vaginal pH are antibiotics (especially those taken for dental, sinus or upper respiratory infections). BV is almost common in the summer with chlorine pools and hot tubs being a more basic pH (greater than 7.0).

Recurrent BV is best managed by a three step approach:
  1. Antibiotics to kill off the bad bacteria
  2. Rephresh, an over-the-counter product designed to bring down the vaginal pH
  3. Probiotics to re-colonize the vagina with the good lactobacilli that make lactic acid and keep the pH acidic; I recommend traditional yogurt without nutrasweet, eaten daily until there is no longer a problem.
– Dr. Diane Sutter

Dr. Sutter is a gynecologist whose interests include menopausal transition, osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment, and PMS. She sees patients at her office in Kenmore, NY. Click here for her office information.

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