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Bacterial Vaginosis (Causes, Symptoms, Treatment) (cont.)

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How is bacterial vaginosis diagnosed?

The best way to diagnose bacterial vaginosis is examination of the vaginal discharge under a microscope. A pelvic exam, including diagnostic tests for other causes of symptoms, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, may also be performed at the time of diagnosis. Examination of the vaginal discharge under the microscope reveals cells coated with bacteria that are known as "clue cells." The pH of the vaginal fluid in bacterial vaginosis is most often greater than 4.5. Bacterial cultures are not useful in establishing a diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis since it represents an imbalance in bacteria that may normally be present in the vagina.

What is the treatment for bacterial vaginosis?

Up to a third of cases of bacterial vaginosis will resolve on their own without any treatment. Nonetheless, treatment with antibiotics is recommended if a woman is pregnant or if she is having symptoms related to the bacterial vaginosis. Different antibiotics may be used. Metronidazole may be given orally in pill form or applied as a vaginal gel. Clindamycin vaginal cream is another option for topical treatment. It is important to treat bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy due to the potential risks of preterm delivery and low birth weight.

What is the prognosis (outlook) for bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis can be cured with antibiotics. Even after a woman has been cured, however, the condition often recurs. A second course of antibiotics is necessary if a woman experiences recurrent bacterial vaginosis that produces symptoms.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/18/2013

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