Vaginosis Treatment in Africa

Vaginosis Treatment in Africa Image

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the most prevalent vaginal infection in women of reproductive age. It’s often associated with increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS and also pregnancy complications. 

BV is most common in parts of Africa, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region with the highest prenatal HIV primacy and a high rate of adverse pregnancy consequences, which range between 20% -50% in women in reproductive age.

Bacterial Vaginosis: Causes

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial infection that results from an overgrowth of one of the several vaginal bacteria.

Usually, the number of good bacteria (lactobacillus) outnumber the bad bacteria (anaerobes). The lactobacillus maintains a slightly acidic state in your vagina so that anaerobes don’t grow in number.

When the number of anaerobic bacteria increases, they upset the natural balance of microbes in your vagina, and you get Bacterial Vaginosis.

Bacterial Vaginosis: Risk Factors

Although we’ve said that BV is prevalent in women of reproductive age, any woman can develop BV regardless of her age.

Here are some activities that increase your risk of getting BV:

  • Smoking
  • Having multiple sex partners, especially female partners (You catch BV from both oral and anal sex)
  • Using vaginal deodorant, scented soaps and perfumed bubble baths
  • Washing undergarments with strong detergents
  • Douching or using medicated solution to clean the vagina upsets the balance of the bacteria
  • Having an IUD birth control device in your uterus–it has been linked to the bacterial infection, particularly if you have irregular bleeding.

You won’t get Bacterial Vaginosis from bedding, touching objects, toilet seats, or swimming.

Bacterial Vaginosis: Symptoms

Most of the Women with BV don’t even know they have it because they experience no symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are mild and you won’t notice and they often come and go.

But here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Thin Vaginal discharge that has a strong fishy smell and gets stronger after sex
  • Thin grey, white or greenish vaginal discharge
  • Itching and burning when you pee

Bacterial Vaginosis: Diagnosis

A gynecologist might diagnose BV by going through your medical history and conducting a physical examination.

The doctor will look for a thin white or gray discharge and unpleasant smell.  The doctor might also conduct a pelvic exam and do other simple tests like:

  • Checking the acidity level or PH of your vagina
  • Using swabs or plastic loop to collect a sample of your vaginal discharge or cells from your vaginal wall to look for the bacteria‘s sample

Bacterial Vaginosis:  Treatment

Bacteria Vaginosis often clears without treatment, but women with BV symptoms should consult their doctors to avoid further complications.

BV is often cured with antibiotic medication- either cream or gel that you can put in your vagina or pills that you can swallow.

There are a variety of antibiotic medications, but the most popular ones are metronidazole, clindamycin, and tinidazole. The antibiotics kill germs in the vagina.

Another treatment option includes using a capsule of suppositories containing living lactic bacteria. These treatments are tailored to protect the Vagina flora, and they correct the natural balance.

However, there is no sufficient evidence to back up the effectiveness of this method.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459216/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859802/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3176826/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4787044/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6019544/

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/bacterial-vaginosis-beyond-the-basics

The Common Causes of Vaginal Discharge in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe and STI

Every woman has had her experience with vaginal discharge; however, it seems that more and more women in Zimbabwe have had their experience with abnormal vaginal discharge, due to until now, unknown reasons. From the long list of potential causes, a study published in 2019 has finally pointed out the two most common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge in adult women in Zimbabwe.

What do you need to know about vaginal discharge?

Most women have experienced vaginal discharge at least once in their lifetime, and even more often than that, thinking about how vaginal discharge is considered to be a normal and regular occurrence among most women. There are different types of vaginal discharge that differ according to their color and consistency. For example, white, either watery or mucus-like, vaginal discharge, as well as brown colored vaginal discharge, is considered to be normal.

However, when a woman is experiencing either yellow or greenish vaginal discharge, especially if it is accompanied by a rather unpleasant smell that indicates that yeast or bacterial infection is probably present. Many common STDs and STIs often present themselves with vaginal discharge, among other symptoms. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are most commonly affected by a present vaginal discharge, but there are other potential causes as well.

What are the common causes of vaginal discharge in Zimbabwe?

A study published in November 2019 has investigated the common causes of vaginal discharge in Zimbabwe, which, as you may know, is one of the African centuries where there is a high STDs prevalence. Because many young people in Zimbabwe become sexually active at an early age without being fully aware of the risks that the common STDs may bring into their lives, as well as, the importance of how to properly practice safe sex, they are one of the especially vulnerable groups that are commonly affected by STDs.

The study has revealed that it is bacterial vaginosis that is the most common cause for abnormal vaginal discharge being present. Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation that is caused by the overgrowth of the already present bacteria in the vagina. Other symptoms such as itching, foul-smelling odor, and a burning sensation during urination are present as well, due to bacterial vaginosis.

But vaginal discharge has also been commonly caused by Gonorrhea, which is suggested to be the STD that is most often diagnosed within the adult women in Zimbabwe. Studies have been showing a high rate of Gonorrhea cases among adult women, with approximately 6.6% of the adult women in Africa being affected by Gonorrhea.

Luckily, both bacterial vaginosis and Gonorrhea are easily treated by following certain guidelines. Metronidazole, Clindamycin, and Tinidazole are the usual treatment choices used to treat bacterial vaginosis, with high success rates among its patients.

Future of BV in Zimbawe

Every day, more and more women in Zimbabwe are facing the troubles that come with abnormal vaginal discharge, most commonly caused by bacterial vaginosis and Gonorrhea among the adult women in this country. Although proper treatment for both bacterial vaginosis and Gonorrhea has been made available, it is a shame for so many women to still struggle with these potentially dangerous conditions.

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bacterial-vaginosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352279

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6879447/

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0205863