Most women at some stage in their lifetime will experience some form of vaginal discharge. The discharge may be normal or it can be an, characterized by discharge, itching, or odor.
Vaginal discharge is an inconvenience that most woman are not likely to discuss, not even with a friend. Discharge, combined with an unpleasant musty or fishy smell becomes an embarrassing problem that some may attempt to mask with fragranced products.
The key to proper treatment of vaginal discharge is proper diagnosis. With the month of April being Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) month, the focus of this article is on BV (which is one of the most common types of vaginal infections):
Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
Bacterial Vaginosis is a vaginal infection that occurs when the balance of bacteria in the vagina is altered. It is a common condition affecting millions of women (often females between the ages of 15 and 44years), regardless of age, lifestyle, career or other circumstances. BV may be present without symptoms, but if symptoms occur, there is usually a change in vaginal discharge. Some women will also notice the characteristic smell.
- The discharge is often white-grey in colour and often has a fishy smell.
- The smell may be more noticeable during sex.
- The discharge tends to be heaviest just after a period, or after sex.
Less commonly, there may be:
- a burning sensation during urination
- itching around the outside of the vagina
Between 50 and 75 percent of women with BV have no symptoms.
Although the syndrome is curable with standard drugs, recurrence rates are high. Because many patients are asymptomatic (do not experience any symptoms), recurrence is difficult to differentiate from treatment failure.
For many women, BV is a nuisance, but for others it can have a serious effect on their reproductive health.
BV alone is not considered harmful, but complications can arise. If left untreated, BV can lead to abnormal pap smears, further infection and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage, preterm labour and birth as well as post-birth intrauterine infection.
It could also significantly increase a woman’s chance of HIV infection by up to four times and make her more susceptible to other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as trichomoniasis and chlamydial cervicitis.
Recurrence of BV is very common and has been reported to be as high as 70% over a period of nine months following initial diagnosis. In this situation, long-term treatment prescribed by and under supervision of the female’s doctor has been reported to be effective.
Is there a test for bacterial vaginosis?
If you are in a stable, long-term relationship, the doctor or nurse may be happy to diagnose BV just by its typical symptoms.
The typical discharge and its characteristic fishy smell make bacterial vaginosis (BV) likely. When the doctor does the examination they may be able to identify BV from the appearance of the discharge.
There are some tests that can help to confirm the diagnosis. Also, if you are pregnant, it is important to make an accurate diagnosis of any unusual vaginal discharge so that any infection can be treated effectively.
Testing the acid level of your vagina
The discharge of BV has a typical pH level (acidity level) which is higher than normal vaginal pH.
pH is measured on a scale from 0 (extreme acidity) to 14 (extremely alkaline). Pure water, which is neutral (neither acid nor alkaline) has a pH of 7.
The normal pH of the vagina is 3.8-4.5.
As soon as the pH increases above 4.5, anaerobic bacteria start to overgrow and lactobacilli (which maintain the acidity) start to die off.
The doctor or nurse may suggest a laboratory test where they take a sample of the discharge to a laboratory for testing and accurate diagnosis.
Proper clinical evaluation is recommended to ensure proper treatment. This makes it important for women to have a tool they can use either at home or at their Drs room to determine the cause of their discharge and treat correctly.
Now women can buy a test to check their vaginal pH in the comfort of their homes before treating with over the counter medication.
Coincido offers the only rapid test on the market that can be used either by women at home or by healthcare professionals to monitor vaginal pH and assist in determining the cause of the abnormal vaginal discharge:
Result interpretation (considered as part of the clinical evaluation):
- Positive result (blue, green) consider BV or Trichomonas infections.
- Negative result (yellow) consider yeast infection
The V-Check is comprised of a vaginal swab with a polyester tip.
The swab tip changes color when it comes in contact with vaginal secretions presenting elevated pH (abnormal acidity) or low buffer capacity (watery discharge).
A change of color from pale yellow to green or blue (even if only part of the tip change color) is easy to identify, considered as positive reading
No color scale needed to interpret results.
The V-Check gives you piece of mind and guidance with appropriate treatment of vaginitis. By using the V-Check at home you can avoid embarrassing questions when seeking treatment at the pharmacy. The V-Check is also available in Australia, USA, New Zealand, UK and many other international markets.
For more information on how to order the V-Check for monitoring vaginal pH you can visit:
or call 011 589 989