Can a man pass BV from one woman to another?
In this blog, we will answer the question, “Can a man pass BV from one woman to another?”. Our aim is to understand the possibility of a man transferring BV from one woman to another. Stay with us till the end if you wish to get into the depth of this debate.
Can a man pass BV from one woman to another?
Yes, a man can pass BV from one woman to another by carrying infectious microbes on his penis. This could happen frequently if a man has more sexual partners.
But, this is rare. He might not necessarily *pass* the infection from one woman to another, but he can make them infected, solely on his own. The relationship shared between BV and sexual intercourse is pretty deep.
A man can neutralise a woman’s vaginal pH by ejaculating inside her. This not only creates a hospitable environment for the sperm to survive, but also a suitable environment which promotes the growth of bad bacteria inside the vagina.
This is how a man makes a woman infected more commonly. Rather than passing on an already existing infection, he unintentionally gives rise to a new one.
It is best to make sure you keep your sexual partners limited and your partners keep their partners limited. This is the major reason why people get infected. Unsafe sex practices lead to spread of multiple diseases.
Can a man get infected with BV?
Men can not be infected with BV as penises don’t work the way vaginas do. They do not possess the same microbial species as women do. Yet, they can still pass the infection on, but it is extremely rare.
BV has so many factors that the probability of getting it from a man is pretty small. BV is not an STI, so a man can not get infected himself nor can he pass it on like an STI. It only happens if somehow, the bacteria remains on his genitals to infect a woman.
BV occurs when vaginal pH balance is disturbed. What actually happens is, the reduced acidity leads to the overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria. These bad bacteria include:
- Gardnerella vaginalis
- Anaerobic Prevotella, Porphyromonas and Bacteroides
- Mycoplasma hominis
- Ureaplasma urealyticum
Can BV be transmitted orally?
Another mode of BV transmission is oral sex. The mouth has its own microflora, which consists of good and bad bacteria. The bacteria in the mouth derange natural vaginal microflora, causing infections such as yeast and BV.
How to avoid getting infected?
There are a few things you can try to prevent getting infected from your man. These include:
Hygienic sexual practices
Follow safe sexual practices if you wish to avoid getting infected. Avoid having sex with multpile partners under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This way you will make your vagina more susceptible to different kinds of infections. It will also put you at a higher risk of getting sexually transmitted infections.
If you have sex toys, make sure you clean them. Don’t just leave them there to rot after using them or else the next time when you will use them, there will be a huge amount of dangerous disease causing pathogens, just waiting there to attack you.
Opt for contraceptive barriers
Avoid having unprotected sex. Use condoms or other contraceptive barriers to help prevent the risk of infections. This practice helps you keep safe, especially if you engage with multiple sexual partners.
Healthy diet and exercise
Make sure you add plenty of nutritious foods in your diet. Do not eat junk or foods with high sugar content. Add pre and probiotics in your diet to maintain a healthy amount of good bacteria in your body. Drink plenty of water.
It’s best to stay active and exercise at least 3-4 days a week. Staying physically active keeps your body healthy and it helps boost your immune system. Good immunity is necessary to fight against infections.
Keep your vagina clean
Take care of your vaginal hygiene. Let’s take a look at Do’s and Don’ts.
- Wash your vagina with lukewarm water. You can use a simple soap as well.
- Pat it dry.
- Wear breathable cotton panties.
- Do not use scented soaps or perfumes.
- Do not use fancy pads or tampons. Keep it simple.
- Do not rub your vagina while drying.
- Do not wear tight underwear.
- Do not scratch if it itches.
- Avoid douching.
Clean yourself before getting engaged in sexual activity
It is important to wash yourself thoroughly before you engage in sexual activity. This helps in getting rid of harmful bacteria that might be present on your skin or genitals.
Visit your gynaecologist more often
It is recommended to go to your gynaecologist for a routine checkup. Your doctor may suggest some contraceptives that might work better on you. You can also discuss best ways to maintain a healthy vagina and how you can maximise safe sexual practices.
What signs and symptoms are associated with BV?
Bacterial vaginosis is associated with following signs and symptoms:
- Foul or fishy vaginal odour
- Unusual white-grey discharge, with thin or watery consistency.
- Painful urination
Consequences of BV
If left untreated, BV can have serious consequences. These include:
BV in pregnant women is associated with premature delivery and babies with low body weight
Sexually transmitted infections
Women with BV are more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections like herpes and chlamydia, as bv alters vaginal microflora and ends up suppressing vaginal immunity, leaving it vulnerable to infections.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Bacterial vaginosis can cause PID. It is an infection of the uterus and the fallopian tubes that can give rise to a lot of fertility issues in women. In severe cases, infertility is also reported.
What other factors can disturb your vaginal pH?
Bacterial vaginosis is not only contracted after sexual intercourse. It could simply occur when the amount of lactobacillus, good vagina cleaning bacteria, is reduced. Keep reading to find out what other factors can reduce the creation of ‘good’ bacteria.
Other factors include:
- Being sexually active, specially in case of unprotected sex, disturbance of vaginal pH is very common which leads to the overgrowth of disease causing bacteria.
- Sometimes, menstrual bleeding also disturbs your vaginal pH and throws off the balance of your vaginal microbiome. This leads to BV as well.
- The use of douche is the most common cause of BV, especially in young women. Your vagina is self cleaning, you don’t need to use douche, at all.
- It not only irritates the skin and causes itching, but also disturbs vaginal pH, hence giving rise to BV.
- Insufficient vaginal hygiene is another main reason for causing BV. Make sure you properly wash your genitals with lukewarm water and always remember to pat it dry.
- Pregnant women undergo hormonal changes in their bodies which may lead to changes in vaginal microbiome. BV can create a lot of pregnancy related complications.
- Decreased estrogen levels are also linked with the occurrence of BV. It not only causes different types of vaginitis, but it also irritates the skin outside vagina.
When to call your doctor?
You need to see your doctor if:
- You notice an unusual vaginal discharge with strong fishy odour.
- You have a fever with chills.
- You have more sexual partners. It is extremely important to rule out any STI, as the signs and symptoms can get pretty similar.
- You have been trying home remedies but nothing works.
- You feel an extreme burning sensation while you pee.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe a suitable antimicrobial therapy to get rid of your BV, for good. It is also recommended to add probiotics in your prescription.
They not only help replenish your vaginal microflora but also protect you from antibiotic associated gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
BV, also called bacterial vaginosis, is an infection caused in women. There has been a huge debate whether a man can pass it from one woman to another. The answer is yes, he might, but the chances of doing so are pretty thin.
He might not necessarily pass it, but he can make them infected anyways. The reason behind this is the relationship that BV shares with sexual activity. It disturbs normal vaginal pH and alters the environment which promotes the growth of infection causing bacteria.
FAQ: can a man pass a bv from a woman to another
Can a guy transmit BV?
Guys can rarely transmit BV, but are capable of infecting you on their own. A man can neutralise a woman’s vaginal pH by ejaculating inside her.
This not only creates a hospitable environment for the sperm to survive, but also a suitable environment which promotes the growth of bad bacteria inside the vagina. This is how a man makes a woman infected more commonly, rather than passing an already existing infection
Why do I get BV every time I sleep with my boyfriend?
Sexual activity can end up disturbing your vaginal pH. It decreases vaginal acidity and the new altered environment promotes the growth of bad bacteria.
Can a man pass on BV to a woman?
Man, himself, can not get infected with BV. He might transfer it, but the chances of doing so are pretty limited. Experts aren’t as sure about whether men can spread BV to female partners. This is still a topic of research.
Can you get BV in your mouth?
BV can be transmitted orally. Oral sex itself is capable of causing BV in the first place, as our mouth has its own microflora which can interfere with good vaginal bacteria and can disrupt vaginal pH.
Does male partner need to be treated for BV?
No. BV can’t even infect your male partner in the first place. It only infects women because it infects vagina only. It can not get a penis infected. So no, he doesn’t need treatment for an infection that doesn’t even exist for him.
- Bacterial Vaginosis: An Overview for 2009 by Charles H Livengood, III, MD https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672999
- B J Berger et al. Clin Infect Dis. 1995 – Bacterial vaginosis in lesbians: a sexually transmitted disease https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8749623/
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2021 https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/bv.htm
- Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC fact sheet https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm#:~:textBV%20is%20a%20result%20of,know%20how%20sex%20 causes%20BV
- P G Larsson, M Bergström, U Forsum, B Jacobsson, A Strand, P Wölner-Hanssen (2015) – Bacterial vaginosis. Transmission, role in genital tract infection and pregnancy outcome: an enigma https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15865604/
- Hans Verstraelen, Rita Verhelst, Mario Vaneechoutte, Marleen Temmerman (2010) – The epidemiology of bacterial vaginosis in relation to sexual behaviour https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20353563/