Can you get recurring BV with the same partner?

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can you get recurring BV with the same partner?”. BV is an infection that affects a whole lot of women worldwide. 

This blog will cover how you can get infected again even after being with only one sexual partner. We will also discuss some treatment options to help you get rid of BV, for good. 

Can you get recurring BV with the same partner?

Yes, you can get recurring BV infection with the same partner. A decade or two ago it was believed that having multiple sexual partners can increase the risk of BV recurrence. 

However, recent research studies have indicated that BV recurrence is also quite common in women who have been with the same sexual partner. 

Many experts debated on this topic and it also became a common phenomenon that recurring BV with the same partner indicates that your partner is cheating on you. 

However, it was later observed that BV is associated with a lot of risk factors and can occur when the vaginal pH is disturbed. BV is characterised with foul fishy odour, itching and abnormal vaginal discharge. 

It is the most common infection in women but it most commonly affects women of child bearing age.Just like our gut, vaginas also have a high proportion of bacterial growth. 

We categorise them into ‘good and bad’ bacteria. Good bacteria are essential for maintaining vaginal microflora, whereas bad ones like Gardnerella vaginalis are pretty harmful. 

Is BV a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? 

BV is often mistaken for sexually transmitted infection, but it’s just a myth. It’s not just me saying it, it’s actually a fact stated by researchers.

According to an article published in 2020, BV is not considered an STI. The study states that an STI is an infection that is caused by bacteria which are not supposed to be a part of your normal vaginal microflora. 

BV occurs when normal vaginal pH is disturbed. When the vaginal acidity decreases, it creates a hospitable environment for bad bacteria to grow. This results in BV.

What are the possible reasons for recurring BV infection?

BV occurs when vaginal pH balance is deranged. 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
  • Peptostreptococcus 
  • Mycoplasma hominis
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum
  • Mobiluncus 

As you know now what circumstances lead to the state of BV, let’s shed some light on factors which contribute to this condition. These include:

Sexual activity

As discussed earlier, 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. 

The thought that your partner is cheating on you is vague in this scenario. The presence of BV does increase your chances of getting sexually transmitted infections by disturbing your vaginal defence barriers. 

Menstruation 

Sometimes, menstrual bleeding also disturbs your vaginal pH and throws off the balance of your vaginal microbiome. This leads to BV as well. 

Douching

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. 

Douching actually does more harm than good, particularly in those cases where women are or have been infected with BV. It just makes things even more uncomfortable. 

Use of perfumed female products

The urge of young women to make their vagina smell like flowers has led to the increased use of scented soaps, tampons and pads. It not only irritates the skin and causes itching, but also disturbs vaginal pH, hence giving rise to BV. 

Poor vaginal hygiene 

Insufficient vaginal cleanliness is another main reason for causing BV. Make sure you properly wash your lady parts with lukewarm water and always remember to pat it dry. 

Do not leave it wet as moisture is the ideal environment for bad bacteria to thrive. Avoid using tight clothing as they trap moisture and keep your vagina damp. Wear breathable cotton panties. Yes, your vagina needs to breathe too. 

Pregnancy 

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. 

Bv in pregnant women is associated with premature delivery and babies with low body weight. It also leads to miscarriage during first trimester and creates complications. 

Intrauterine devices (IUD) 

The relationship between BV and intrauterine devices is not fully explained, but the studies have found increased incidence of BV in women with IUDs. 

Hormonal changes

Different studies show a link between hormonal changes and the occurrence of BV. Most commonly, in post-menopausal women, the level of estrogen drops which can easily mess up the vaginal microflora. 

Decreased estrogen levels not only cause different types of vaginitis, but it also irritates the skin outside vagina. Estrogen also plays an important role in keeping the vaginal membrane moist. 

Its deficiency leads to immense dryness, which exacerbates itching and burning sensation in women already battling with BV. 

Diet

Well, is there literally anything in our body which is not affected by the food we eat? Umm, I guess there isn’t, right? They say, ‘we are what we eat’. Well, they are right. Diet is not only important for us to look good, but to feel good as well. 

Our food has a huge impact on our microbiome, including vagina’s. Make sure you add plenty of prebiotics and probiotics in your diet, along with nuts, yoghurt, asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, banana, barley, oats, apples, cocoa, wheat bran, flaxseeds etc. 

Genetics

A 2014 study suggested that BV was found more common in African American women as compared to women who belong to European origin. 

This difference is due to the diversity found in such women’s microflora. Your genetic material controls the amount and types of microorganisms naturally present in your body. 

What are the treatment options to get rid of recurring BV? 

There are a few treatment options that can help eliminate the recurring infection. These include:

Antibiotic therapy

Antibiotics are the most trusted meds to help eradicate the bacteria which cause BV infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described efficiency and doses of some antibiotics for the treatment of BV. 

AntibioticsRecommended doses 
Clindamycin Clindamycin cream 2% intravaginally at bedtime for 7 days
Clindamycin 300 mg 2 times a day for 7 days
Clindamycin ovule suppositories 100 mg intravaginally once at bedtime for 3 days. 
Metronidazole Metronidazole tablet 500 mg 2 times a day for 7 days
Metronidazole gel 0.75% intravaginally, once a day for 5 days 
Tinidazole1 to 2 grams orally, once a day for 2 to 5 days 
SecnidazoleAvailable in the form of oral granules 
Add these granules in unsweetened applesauce, yoghurt, or pudding before ingestion. 

Probiotics

Probiotics, also known as human-friendly bacteria or good bacteria, are widely used to combat bad bacteria responsible for bv infection. A 2014 study revealed that the use of probiotics, like lactobacillus, can hinder the growth of infection causing bacteria and prevents recurrence. 

Probiotics are helpful in various ways in the treatment of BV and they are often prescribed along with antibiotics to protect your gut bacteria as well.

Boric acid

Boric acid is also used to treat BV. For quite sometime it remained a debate whether it is safe to use boric acid or not but it later concluded that it is indeed safe to use for the treatment of BV.

A 2009 study showed that boric acid in combination with antibiotic therapy cured recurrent BV in 58 women. Later, a 2019 study also reported benefits of boric acid in treating BV and yeast infections. 

However, authors of both studies came up with a conclusion that further research is required to determine the proper use.

LACTIN-V

The researchers tested a treatment called LACTIN-V, which consists of Lactobacillus crispatus bacteria. This strain is common in the healthy vaginal microflora. 

The researchers determined that LACTIN-V treatment could hinder the growth of harmful infection causing bacteria. The study concluded that LACTIN-V indeed reduced the recurrence of BV in women receiving it for 6 to 12 weeks.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have discussed the recurring BV infection with the same partner. Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection. Though it is not a dangerous condition, it can be quite disturbing. 

It messes with female hygiene as it’s significant ‘fishy’ smell disturbs women the most and sometimes, it ends up disrupting their sex life. BV, if left untreated, can indeed cause complications. 

In some cases, BV is linked to infertility. Make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider if you exhibit any signs of BV infection. 

FAQs: recurring bv with same partner 

Why do I keep getting BV with the same partner?

BV occurs when normal vaginal pH is disturbed. When the vaginal acidity decreases, it creates a hospitable environment for bad bacteria to grow. A decade or two ago it was believed that having multiple sexual partners can increase the risk of BV recurrence. However, recent research studies have indicated that BV recurrence is also quite common in women who have been with the same sexual partner.

What does it mean when BV keeps coming back?

Recurring infections indicate that there are some things that keep throwing your vaginal pH off balance and cause BV even after you have been fully healed. Though the causes of bv are not fully determined, but multiple factors are considered responsible for making women more susceptible to BV

  • Douching
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Poor vaginal hygiene
  • Compromised immunity
  • STDs
  • Use of perfumed female hygiene products etc

Why does my partner throw off my pH balance?

Sexual intercourse can disrupt the normal vaginal pH. When vaginal pH is disturbed, it makes vagina susceptible to infections by disturbing its defence mechanism. 

How can I stop getting BV so much?

  • Take care of your vaginal hygiene
  • Avoid douching
  • Do not use perfumed female hygiene products. Vagina is self cleaning, avoid using scented soaps
  • Limit your sexual partners
  • Add healthy bacteria (prebiotics and probiotics) in your diet
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes
  • Wear breathable cotton panties

Why won’t my BV go away?

If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics and still your infection persists, it’s probably because your antibiotics are not working properly and are facing bacterial resistance. Consult your physician to change your prescription. 

Which probiotic is best for BV?

Different variants of Lactobacillus are used as most effective probiotics to fight against bv. These include 

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus 
  • Lactobacillus paracasei 
  • Lactobacillus brevis 
  • Lactobacillus plantarum 
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus 
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus 
  • Lactobacillus crispatus

References

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