What is it? How is it contracted? How is it treated?
What is it?
Garnerella is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal odor and discharge. It is caused by a change in the type of bacteria found in the vagina. Normally, bacteria belonging mostly to the Lactobacillus family live harmlessly in the vagina and produce chemicals that keep the vagina mildly acidic. In bacterial vaginosis, Lactobacillus bacteria are replaced by other types of bacteria that normally are present in smaller concentrations in the vagina.
Causes of Gardnerella
Causes are things like:
Antibiotics: broad-spectrum antibiotics sometimes give rise to side effects such as destruction of healthy bacteria around the vagina. This makes vagina susceptible to harmful bacterial infections and Gardnerella growth.
Tampons: While Tampon usage is generally safe, constant use of them on the vagina can cause irritation. The vagina can also be dry thus becoming vulnerable to bacterial infections.
Contraceptives: Use of Contraceptives like Contraceptive Sponges, Diaphragms and Intrauterine devices (IUD) as also Vaginal Douching can disturb the balance of healthy bacteria residing inside the vagina making it susceptible to harmful bacteria attacks.
Sexual Intercourse: Though sexual activity has not been directly proved to be a cause of Gardnerella infection, it is suspected to be an underlying factor. This is because the condition is reported in women with multiple partners. A new sexual partner and presence of other sexually-transmitted diseases are also seen as causes of Gardnerella. However, the condition is also seen in virgins or women who have never had sex before.