Most women get bacterial vaginosis only once in their lifetime. Others however, experience it repeatedly with no signs of improvement at all. When that happens, several health complications may happen.
Acute Bacterial Vaginosis Typically Appears in Sexually Active Women, but It's Not the Only Factor
The incubation period for acute bacterial vaginosis is unknown,1 but the symptoms usually appear more in women who have become sexually active with a new partner.2 The onset of the disease becomes even shorter if you're not using condoms and/or have multiple partners. Sex with other women may also increase your risk of developing it.
However, sexual intercourse is not the only factor that influences the onset of bacterial vaginosis. Women who are not sexually active may get it as well. Activities such as douching, smoking, using vaginal deodorants and using scented products on your vaginal region all play a role in the development of acute bacterial vaginosis.3
There's a High Probability Bacterial Vaginosis Can Rear Its Ugly Head
It's quite possible that bacterial vaginosis can become chronic bacterial vaginosis. For it to be classified as such, you must have experienced at least three episodes in one year. Depending on how effective your chosen treatment method was, the chance for it to return can be as high as 80 percent.4
If you experience repeat episodes, your risk of getting the following complications increases:5
- Sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhea
- Vaginal infections after a surgery such as cesarean section, abortion or an operation on the cervix or uterus
- Premature birth
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition that affects your fallopian tubes and uterus
The reasons for recurring bacterial vaginosis are unclear, due to the many factors involved in your daily life, such as your sexual activity, hygiene habits and diet. It's theorized that certain bacteria strains are simply more persistent and continue to live inside your vagina, or that you have simply failed to recolonize your Lactobacillus flora.6
In any case, scheduling regular checkups with the doctor will help you monitor your condition, especially when you develop it during a pregnancy. He will also help you pinpoint if there are certain habits that you should stop doing to lower your risk for complications.