12 Mar
2009

Definition

Bacterial vaginosis may be defined as ‘a replacement of the lactobacilli of

the vagina by characteristic groups of bacteria accompanied by changed properties of the vaginal fluid’. The cause of the condition is uncertain but a polymicrobial aetiology involving anaerobes (including Bacteroides and Mobiluncus species), Gardnerella vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis and other organisms is likely. Bacterial vaginosis is associated with sexual activity but it is not clear that the condition is sexually transmitted. The incubation period is ill-defined.

Clinical manifestations

The condition is being more frequently recognised and is often only suspected when courses of antifungal and antitrichomonal agents fail to produce a lasting cure. The features of the condition are thin, grey, clinging, homogeneous vaginal discharge, pH greater than 4.5 and a fishy amine odour which is commonly noted after coitus. There is no vaginitis and other symptoms, if any, are mild.

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