Bacterial Infections: What you should know?
A bacterial infection occurs when a harmful bacterium enters and multiplies inside or outside your body. Genital bacterial infection is very common in women, and it can occur due to various factors. Most of the bacterial infections occur to sexually transmitted diseases. It may not show any visible symptoms sometimes, but may increase the risk of further health complications.
How vaginal bacterial infections occur?
The vagina will naturally have some good bacteria which protects the area. Due to many factors, the pH level or the acidity level of the vagina can decline, leading to abnormal growth of bad bacteria. The balance between bad bacteria and good bacteria will be lost. Therefore any factors leading to a decrease in the acidity level of the vagina increases the risk of a bacterial infection.
Some of the factors leading to bacterial infection are
- Stress and hormonal changes
- Lack of hygiene can lead to increased number of bacteria which may result in infections
- Use of tight clothes or undergarments may trigger bacterial infections as it will absorb moisture
- Unprotected sex or sexually transmitted diseases
- Use of new soaps, talcum powders or similar foreign bodies in the vaginal area
- Use of tampons or sanitary pads for longer time
- Usage of certain contraceptive methods
Common bacterial infections include:
- Bacterial Vaginosis: It is comparatively a mild vaginal infection caused due to bacteria. The change in acidity level promotes the growth of infectious bacteria and kills the protective bacteria which are already present in the vaginal area and a bacterial vaginosis occurs. It can occur mostly when the woman has multiple sexual partners. The common symptom for this type of infection is a mild yellow vaginal discharge but most patients do not have any symptoms initially.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): It is a common bacterial infection that occurs in the pelvic region in the female body. It happens when the bacteria enters the reproductive organs. Mostly, pelvic inflammatory disease occurs when you have sexually transmitted diseases that affect the cervix. Any factor that pushes the bacteria into the reproductive system increases the risk of catching PID. Salpingitis is a serious form of pelvic inflammatory disease. If untreated, PID may lead to damage of reproductive organs like uterus, fallopian tube, ovaries etc.
- Gonorrhoea: It is a common type of sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The symptoms of the disease include vaginal discharges, pelvic pain, pain during urination etc. Gonorrhoea may lead to infertility or PID if it is not treated properly.
- Syphilis: It is a rare bacterial infection caused spread through sexual activity of from mother to baby. The bacterium ‘Trepenoma pallidum’ causes syphilis which is mostly treated with penicillin. The symptoms include soreness in the genital area, rashes in the body, etc.
Treatment for bacterial infections
The first step to bacterial infection treatment is to figure out the type of bacteria that cause the infection. Mostly, antibiotics are prescribed to treat the condition.