Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Illustration by Margarita Fedorova: a sketch of bacteria on top of a pink background Illustration by Margarita Fedorova

The following text uses the word “pussy” as defined by Pussypedia.

by Zoe Mendelson

What is going on?

Your pussy* has a lot of bacteria living in it. A whole ecosystem of bacteria, and that’s normal. 90-95% of that bacteria is usually Lactobacillus spp. BV happens when a different, bad bacteria gets in and takes over. There are a bunch of bad bacterias that can cause BV, but the most common intruder is called Gardnerella Vaginalis.1 It crashes your pussy*’s party and invites a ton of its lame, unwelcome friend bacterias like Mobiluncus curtisii, and M. mulieris.1 It’s like they come in, take over the DJ booth, and start playing awful music and smoking cigarettes. The Lactobacillus all leave because they can’t stand it. And all the sudden, you’re microbiome’s got a totally different kind of pussy* party going on—one that your body doesn’t like.

BV is sometimes considered an STI and sometimes not, since it has different bacterias that can cause it and because it can be passed by sexual contact between pussies*,2 but it can also happen without any sexually related causes. But BV does almost double your risk of contracting other STIs like Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea.1

How common is this?

Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in people with pussies* ages 15-44. About 20-30% of reproductive-age people with vaginas get BV.1 That number goes up to 25-50% for people with vaginas who have sex with other people with vaginas.1 Reported rates of people who get BV have varied worldwide from 7%-68%.1

What can I do to take care of my pussy*?

Go to the doctor if you have new, weird discharge that smells and/or a fever or if you’ve tried over-the-counter yeast infection medicine but it doesn’t work.3 Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics.4 Make sure you finish the treatment even if your symptoms go away before you finish the pills.

Here’s some things you can do to avoid BV:

  • Don’t douche. Douching disturbs your ecosystem.1
  • Don’t let anything in your vagina that was just in a butt hole.1
  • There is evidence that hormonal birth control lowers BV rates.1
  • Take a daily probiotic. 5

One of the worst things about BV is that it tends to come back even after a full round of treatment. Don’t be shy about the problem, go to your doctor. Researchers are still trying to figure out what to do about this.1 So doctors may not be able to fix it, necessarily, but it’s better not to ignore the problem. Daily probiotics won’t necessarily fix the problem, but they have been shown to help.3

Author’s Dedication: To my mother who kindly taught me no soap in the crack and who spends her days helping people heal their relationships with their bodies. You’re my hero mama.

Sources

  1. Bautista CT, Wurapa E, Sateren WB, Morris S, Hollingswoth B, et al. “Bacterial vaginosis: a synthesis of the literature on etiology, prevalence, risk factors and relationship with chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.” Military Medical Research. (3)4. (2016): eCollection 2016. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26877884>.
  2. Morris MC, Rogers PA, Kinghorn GR. “Is bacterial vaginosis a sexually transmitted infection?” Sexually Transmitted Infections. 77(1). (2001): 63-68. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1758329/>.
  3. “Bacterial Vaginosis.” The Mayo Clinic. 2016. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bacterial-vaginosis/symptoms-causes/dxc-20198414>.
  4. “STD Facts – Bacterial Vaginosis.” Center for Disease Control. February 16, 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm>.
  5. Homayouni A, Bastani P, Ziyadi S, Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi S, Ghalibaf M, Mortazavian AM, et al. “Effects of probiotics on the recurrence of bacterial vaginosis: a review.” Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease. 18(1). (2014): 79-86. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24299970>.

This article was previously published in Pussypedia and is reposted with permission.