Is having untreated bacterial vaginosis a choice? If the symptoms of BV are not TOO bad, some women just shrug their shoulder's and decide to do just that.
All those drippy creams. Antibiotics make you feel sick.
Not a good idea, ladies. This is one infection that really should be treated.
Bacterial vaginosis is associated with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)or endometritis.1 This can lead to scarring inside the reproductive organs which can cause chronic pelvic pain, difficulty becoming pregnant, ectopic pregnancy (the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in adult females), and infertility.
There is an increased risk of getting HIV infection if you're exposed to the virus. This does not mean you WILL get HIV, but you are more likely to than if you treat the BV.1
Several other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including herpes, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and chlamydia are more likely to infect you, and all of these also leave you more vulnerable to HIV if you're exposed.6
Untreated bacterial vaginosis is a big risk if you're pregnant or planning on becoming so.
It has been proven that there is a risk of late miscarriage and also of spontaneous preterm delivery associated with bacterial vaginosis and pregnancy.4
If bacterial vaginosis is recurrent it increases the risk of preterm delivery by nine compared with women who did not get BV again.2
Increased risk of infections at the time of birth including postpartum endometritis, postpartum sepsis, post-caesarean wound infection and episiotomy wound infection.2
There is an increased risk of giving birth to a low birth-weight baby and this is one of the leading causes of infant death in the US.3,5
Honestly, untreated bacterial vaginosis is not a risk worth taking. Yes, it frequently it comes back. Yes, it can be tricky to get rid off it and KEEP it away. But you owe it to yourself to hang in there and keep trying.
Whether you try orthodox bacterial vaginosis treatment or whether you prefer home treatment of BV make sure that once you're clear of BV that you "restock" the vagina with probiotic bacteria such as Fem Dophilus to keep the BV bugs at bay.
1. Spear GT, St John E, Zariffard MR. Bacterial vaginosis and human immunodeficiency virus infection. AIDS Res Ther. 2007 Oct 22;4:25.
2. M. KEKKI, MD, T. KURKI, MD, PhD, J. PELKONEN, MD, M. KURKINEN-RÄTY, MD, B. CACCIATORE, MD, PhD and J. PAAVONEN, MD, PhD. Vaginal Clindamycin in Preventing Preterm Birth and Peripartal Infections in Asymptomatic Women With Bacterial Vaginosis: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Obstetrics & Gynecology 2001;97:643-648.
3. Hillier SL et al. Association between bacterial vaginosis and preterm delivery of a low-birth-weight infant. The Vaginal Infections and Prematurity Study Group. N Engl J Med. 1995 Dec 28;333(26):1737-42.
4. Ugwumadu A, Manyonda I, Reid F, Hay P. Effect of early oral clindamycin on late miscarriage and preterm delivery in asymptomatic women with abnormal vaginal flora and bacterial vaginosis: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2003 Mar 22;361(9362):983-8.
5. Leitich H, Bodner-Adler B, Brunbauer M, Kaider A, Egarter C, Husslein P. Bacterial vaginosis as a risk factor for preterm delivery: a meta-analysis. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003;189:139?147. doi: 10.1067/mob.2003.339.
6. Wiesenfeld HC, Hillier SL, Krohn MA, Landers DV, Sweet RL. Bacterial vaginosis is a strong predictor of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2003;36:663?668. doi: 10.1086/367658.