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What's up with BV?

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babiegurl11221 asks:

I got something called bacteria vaginosis and while some doctors say it's not a STD, a lot of the state health department's professionals consider it one. They say that although girls and women get it sometimes without sexual contact, a lot of them get it right after having sex. I have, and will consider it one. I've been treated for this thing three times and it never seems to go away. Do you or could you consider BV a STD? I didn't bleed after the first time, just horrible pain during and up to one hour after in my vagina. But the next day I felt this horrible cramp-like pain in the pit of my stomach like if I had my period -- is that normal? Will this thing ever go away?

Susie replies:

For what it's worth, I'm not Heather, but I am a health department professional. And I'm sorry you're stressed out with this BV and testing and so forth. I hope you can take some time out and chill, get the moral support you need for all of that stuff. Got a truly trusted friend who can talk to you? How about a sibling or relative?

Bacterial vaginosis is not a true STD in the strictest sense of the term, but it can be strongly linked to our sexual habits and behaviors, and it can have an significant impact on our sexual health. That's why it's important to deal with BV.

BV is usually treated with an antibiotic called metronidazole (brand name Flagyl). While this is generally effective, some women have more trouble getting rid of BV than others. Since this seems to include you, have you had a chance to mention it to your doctor? Your doctor should be able to change the antibiotic regimen to help you get rid of BV. How are your hygiene habits? Do you use vaginal douche? If yes, then stop immediately! Vaginal douches can irritate the vagina and aggravate infections. Do you wear snug underwear or thongs? If so, you should switch to looser cotton panties for the time being.

For more information about BV, check out The STI Files: Bacterial Vaginosis

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