Bacterial Vaginosis is one of the most common infections for a woman in her reproductive years. Women who are 15-44 years old are the ones affected by this infection in the vagina. Even women who are not sexually active can be affected by this infection as well. Surprisingly it is more common than a yeast infection. So if you are one of them, don’t fret. This type of infection is not that complicated. Once diagnosed you can consult your Medical Care Provider regarding the treatment plan and if I were you, you must also use some of the home remedies that can help you clear out the infection fast.
In this article we will focus on the topic Can BV cause Pelvic Pain? Bacterial Vaginosis can sometimes be asymptomatic and there are instances that women only discover that they have BV because of a routine exam done in the clinic. To some, however, there are symptoms and here are some of them:
Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms:
- An increased amount of vaginal discharge
- Vaginal discharge is thin and greyish white in colour
- An unpleasant vaginal smell (fishy odour)
- Vaginal discharge and foul smell is more noticeable after having sexual intercourse with a partner
- Pain during and after sexual intercourse and while urinating
Pain sensation is not really common to women who have BV, however if BV is left untreated especially if not diagnosed correctly, there is a possibility for it to lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or also known as PID.
What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is the infection of the reproductive organs. It usually involves the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This type of infection must not be treated lightly as it can cause serious complications and this may lead to difficulty getting pregnant and chronic pain in the pelvic area.
When PID is left untreated, it can cause scarring because of the infection and this may lead to possible ectopic pregnancy.
Here are some of the symptoms of PID:
- Pain in the pelvic area (lower part of the belly)
- Painful sensation during intercourse
- Pain and Difficulty in urinating
- Abnormal bleeding in between menstrual periods
- Fever and sometimes chills
- Abnormal heavy discharge in the vagina with a foul odour
There are also rare cases that experience intense symptoms and if you ever feel these, you must immediately go to the hospital!
- Extreme pain in the lower belly area
- Exhibiting signs of shock, low blood pressure, fainting, etc.
- High Fever, more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
What are the risk factors of PID?
- Multiple sex partners
- History of vaginal infection
- Using IUD to prevent pregnancy
- Vaginal douching
- Sexual intercourse without using a condom
How do you prevent PID?
- Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
- Practice safe sex, use condoms.
- Avoid douching.
- Proper hygiene.
Bacterial Vaginosis can be one of the causes of PID. There are times that BV does not show any symptom, and if it is left untreated it may lead to a more serious infection. PID can result in a simple infection, especially if the bacteria are able to multiply and no treatment or remedy is done to treat it.
Research papers have also made a link between certain types of bacteria and pelvic inflammatory disease. One study carried out in 2004 stated that bacterial vaginosis is commonly found in women who have PID but whether or not it causes it is unclear.
One thing for sure is any bv infection will make PID worse so getting treated for bacterial vaginosis is imperative.
Bv And Pelvic Pain
Pelvic Pain can be either acute or chronic. This type of pain is usually found in the lower part of the abdomen, right below the navel.
Is pelvic pain the same as menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps also known as dysmenorrhea usually occur because of the imbalance of hormones during your monthly period.
Menstrual cramps usually occur when the muscle in the uterus and endometrium produces too many eicosanoids which are called prostaglandin E2 and F2- alpha. These are released in the bloodstream when the menstrual period occurs. The following experiences are affected by the diet (food that you eat) and the stress that you are feeling in the present.
You usually experience the following:
- Spasm of the uterine muscle
- Hot flushes
- Alternate feelings of cold and hot
- Soft stools
- Feelings of nausea and fainting
Menstrual cramps can be easily treated by doing the following:
- Birth control pills – Pelvic issues are controlled easily when the hormones are balanced. You can take the lowest pill dose. If you are a smoker, you must avoid birth control pills.
- Diet – A combination of high protein diet, low carbs and healthy fats. You must avoid Trans fats in foods with hydrogenated oils. Avoid dairy foods. There are some women who avoid dairy two weeks before their period.
- Eliminate red meat in your diet – Red meat contains fatty acid eicosanoid precursor which is known as arachidonic acid which often results in the symptoms of menstrual cramps.
- Take multivitamins and minerals supplement daily – Pay attention to the following: Magnesium, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E.
What are the possible causes of pelvic pain?
- Acute PID
- Cyst in the Ovary
How do you diagnose Pelvic pain? There are different ways to diagnose the source of pelvic pain:
- Laboratory test – When a pelvic exam is done, the doctor can also check for infections, blood tests and urinalysis for possible UTI or urinary tract infection.
- Pelvic Exam – The doctor can check the different signs of infection, if there is a presence of abnormal growth or affected pelvic muscles that can be causing the pain in the pelvic area.
- Ultrasound – By using sound-waves this will show the images of the structures of the reproductive organs of the woman with pelvic pain. This procedure can check for the presence of cysts or abnormal mass in the fallopian tubes, cervix, uterus, or ovaries. There are also other tests that can be used to detect abnormal growth or presence of cysts or mass like Xray, CT scan or MRI.
- Laparoscopy – Most invasive procedure among the list, the surgeon will make a little incision in the abdomen so he or she can insert a tube with a small camera (laparoscope). This device will show the doctor the different organs in the pelvis so he or she can check for the presence of masses, abnormal growth of tissues, or presence of infection. This procedure is commonly used to check for the presence of endometriosis and chronic PID.
Endometriosis A Major Cause Of Pelvic Pain
This condition is where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body. Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods and recurrent pelvic pain.
A study in 2008 analysed 133 women with bacterial vaginosis and endometriosis was detected in 100% of them showing a significant correlation between the two different diseases.
Treatment – How do you treat pelvic pain?
If the pelvic pain is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are needed to be prescribed by your attending physician. If you are diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis and there is a complication which leads you to have PID, Make sure you visit the doctor for prescribed antibiotics. It is very important that you address this issue immediately as it can lead to more complications and other risks that can be life-threatening as well.
So can BV cause pelvic pain?
Normally women who have BV do not experience pelvic pain. Pain is only experienced in rare occurrences and it is usually the complication of the infection. When there is an infection in one area of the body, there is a great chance that it can also affect other parts of the body or organs that are near it.
Since BV affects the vaginal area, the infection can also spread to other organs in the reproductive system. If a woman is diagnosed with BV and she suddenly experiences pelvic pain, there is a possibility that there is an underlying problem or she is already suffering from a complication of the infection which is usually Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. If the pelvic inflammatory disease is not treated as soon as possible severe complications can occur such as:
- Scar tissue in the outside and inside of the fallopian tubes and can cause blockage of the tubes.
- Infertility – If a woman wants to conceive or get pregnant there is a possibility that she will have a hard time.
- Ectopic pregnancy – This is a pregnancy that develops outside the uterus, it usually happens in the fallopian tube because of blockage of tubes.
To prevent this from happening, regular check-ups must be done with your health care provider. Sometimes infections can be asymptomatic or there are no symptoms present but when tests are done, the result usually shows that there is an infection. Prevention is better than cure.
Bacterial Vaginosis is not contagious and it is not possible to contract it from using public toilet seats, hot tubs, swimming pool or touching different objects that are contaminated.
I have read online that you can also try hot sitz bath and put epsom salts in it. It is known for being able to remove toxins in the body. If you have Bacterial Vaginosis go to the nearest clinic and have yourself tested and properly diagnosed.
You can ask your Medical Care Provider to prescribe you with antibiotics according to your test results. There are different bacteria that can cause BV. You can also try different remedies that can help you heal from the bacterial infection.
By doing this and following all the necessary steps you can make yourself free from BV and stay away from possible complications like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease that causes pelvic pain and other symptoms.