BV Isn’t a Sign of Cheating Here’s Why – Healthline

Posted: March 24, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Although many people think otherwise, bacterial vaginosis (BV) isnt a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Any person who has a vagina can develop it, and there are a number of factors that may lead to such an infection.

Yes, exposure to a new sexual partner is one of them. But the list also includes things like smoking and douching.

So theres no way that anyone can definitively say BV is linked to cheating.

No, BV isnt considered to be an STI even though some people have reported being told this by a clinician.

The confusion likely comes from the fact that BV can be associated with sexual activity.

For example, penetrative sexual activity can affect the natural bacterial balance in your vagina, leading to extra bacterial growth and eventually BV.

But theres little evidence that the infection can be passed between people through sexual contact, so it isnt on the STI list.

However, BV can increase your chances of contracting an STI, as the bacterial changes may lower the vaginas natural defenses.

The exact cause of BV is unknown, but its characterized by an unbalanced bacterial balance in the vagina.

However, experts have found a number of factors that may increase your risk of developing it.

This includes anything that affects the vaginas pH levels, such as douching or using irritating vaginal products.

Youre also more likely to develop BV if:

Unfortunately, there isnt an easy answer to this. Theres still much more for researchers to learn about the infection.

From using an IUD as contraception to taking up smoking or even changing the way you clean your genital area, all of these factors can lead to BV.

Because of this, theres a chance that you may not know why or even when youve suddenly developed it.

BV can go away on its own after a few days.

But if you need medical treatment, youll likely have to take a weeklong course of antibiotics. If the infections persistent, your provider may prescribe a second round.

Half of people with BV dont have any symptoms, so you may have little to deal with.

But strong-smelling vaginal discharge and irritation when urinating are typical symptoms of the infection.

Although you should seek medical advice from a doctor or other healthcare professional, you can try the following at home to lessen symptoms:

If your partner has a penis, its unlikely that theyll need treatment.

But the infection can be passed between people who have vaginas.

So if your partner has a vagina, its worth seeking medical advice for the both of you.

As doctors arent sure how bacterial vaginosis occurs or spreads, its hard to say how to prevent a recurring infection.

But there are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce your risk of developing a second bout of BV. (Most of these steps are similar to the ones you may have taken to relieve symptoms at home.)

First, its advisable to avoid putting anything that may cause irritation in or around your vagina.

This includes douches, deodorants, and perfumed cleansing products.

Instead, use water and plain soap to clean the area, sticking to showers rather than baths where possible.

When it comes to your underwear, stick to breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics, such as cotton, to avoid unwanted bacterial growth.

And wash underwear using a mild detergent, rather than a strong formula.

Finally, when having intercourse or any kind of sexual activity, ensure sex toys are clean before contact and use condoms or dental dams.

Unfortunately, recurrence is quite common, but it wont hurt to follow the above tips.

If youre worried about STIs, its better to book a test to put your mind at rest.

Symptoms to look out for include:

Thinking that your partner has been unfaithful is a little more complex.

Its natural to want to confront them, but try to take some time to think things through.

After all, your worries could be nothing more than a misunderstanding.

If you do want to speak with your partner, its often a good idea to write down the kinds of things you want to say beforehand.

You may also want to think about whether youd like to try and move forward if it turns out they have been unfaithful, or whether the relationship will have to end.

Speaking with a neutral person who has little connection to you or your partner can also help you get things straight.

When youre ready to talk, let your partner know that youd like to discuss something thats concerning you.

Try to set the conversation up in an environment that suits the both of you, whether thats in private or in public.

Start off by talking about how much the relationship means to you, as well as honesty and trust.

You can then say that you feel there might be a problem in the relationship, bringing up specific examples if needed.

Try not to be accusatory and listen to what your partner has to say. But if something doesnt feel right, dont be afraid to press them on it.

If the shoes on the other foot and your partner thinks that youre the guilty party, try to stay calm.

We tend to get defensive when were being confronted with something thats not true.

But try to put yourself in their shoes and realize that theyre likely only acting this way because they care about the relationship.

Let them talk through the issue and then attempt to understand why they think the way they do.

For example, have you been paying them less attention than usual?

Or is there something going on in their life that could be affecting their emotional state?

I hear you is a good way to start off your end of the conversation. It lets them know that youre listening and understanding where theyre coming from.

At the same time, dont be afraid to let them know if theyve upset you with such an accusation. Remember, its important for both of you to be open and honest.

Asking if youre able to move past the issue is often a good way to end things.

Itll leave you both with an understanding of where youre currently at and clear steps to take to improve the relationship if needed.

If their concern is about contracting an STI, explain that BV isnt an STI. And if theyd still like an STI test, be supportive.

Offer to go with them and get one too if youre comfortable doing so.

Most doctors recommend booking an appointment if you think you have BV, even though it can go away on its own.

This is because, if left untreated, BV can lead to pregnancy complications, pelvic inflammatory disease, or an increased risk of STIs.

So any unusual discharge, itching, burning, swelling, or soreness around the genital area warrants a call.

A healthcare professional can test vaginal discharge and fluid for the infection and prescribe the right treatment, if necessary.

Treatment usually involves a course of antibiotics, either in a pill, capsule, or cream form.

Although much more research is needed into BV, the infection is most definitely not a clear-cut sign of cheating.

So if you or a partner do experience it, try not to blame yourself or others. The cause may have nothing to do with your sex life.

Lauren Sharkey is a U.K.-based journalist and author specializing in womens issues. When she isnt trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.

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BV Isn't a Sign of Cheating Here's Why - Healthline

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