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Treating bacterial vaginosis

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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of abnormal discharge in sexually active women between the ages of 15-45 years.1 It is experienced by 10 per cent of women over a lifetime and is a common cause of acute vaginitis.2

It has a significant effect on quality of life and can negatively impact on personal, professional and intimate relationships. Women report feelings of shame or embarrassment, and implement excessive hygiene regimes that can exacerbate the condition.3


Epidemiological studies indicate that the risk of BV is increased in women of African ethnicity.4 In pregnant women, iron deficiency (anaemia) could be a strong predictor of BV.5

It has also been reported that although dietary fat intake is associated with increased risk of BV and severe BV6 in non-pregnant women, an increase in certain nutrients including folic acid and calcium may decrease the risk of severe BV.

Other risk factors include low socioeconomic status, smoking, the menopause, early coitarche, and a recent history of multiple sex partners.5

Men do not experience BV and it is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection (STI), however some studies have revealed BV associations with STIs.1

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