Gardnerella vaginalis - is the name of a microorganism that is commonly found in the bacterial flora of the vagina. As we already know, the vast majority of vaginal microflora is represented by lactobacilli, which oxidize the environment in order to "control" potential pathogens, among which one of the places of honor belongs to the vaginal gardnerella.
At puberty, this bacterium is extremely rare in the vaginas of girls. For this reason, some authors argue that the presence of gardnerella in children should be seen as a pointer to sexual violence, (although not necessarily). The situation is different with adult women. Statistics say that about 30% of the female population are carriers of gardnerella.
Uncontrolled reproduction of gardnerella is the main cause of one of the most common diseases of the vagina - bacterial vaginosis. The disease is characterized by a significant reduction in the lactobacilli population in favor of facultative anaerobic microorganisms. The risk of developing bacterial vaginosis increases with the number of sexual partners. It should be remembered that the slightly alkaline environment of sperm (7.4 - 7.6) reduces the acidity of the vagina, favoring the engraftment and proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms. Among the most significant risk factors are listed:
- improper intimate hygiene (e.g. excessive use of detergents);
- long-term antibiotic therapy;
- the use of contraceptives;
- the presence of an intrauterine device;
- genetic predisposition.
. Symptoms and diagnosis of gardnerella
In 50% of patients, the presence of gardnerella in the vagina is completely asymptomatic. In other cases, the abnormal growth of the pathogen is associated with the appearance of a grayish-white discoloration with an unpleasant (fishy) smell. The smell is enhanced by contact with alkaline solutions (e.g. soap). This feature is used for a diagnostic test: drops of potassium hydroxide solution (10%) are brought into contact with the vaginal secretion in order to release the pungent odor typical of gardnerella infection. To get additional confirmation of the diagnosis, the doctor takes a smear.
Treatment and prevention of gardnerella
If the disease is not treated, then, as a result, pathological diseases of the cervix and inflammatory processes of the pelvic organs are possible, which subsequently seriously affects female fertility. Self-medication is not the right solution, you must strictly follow the doctor’s instructions. One of the drugs that are active against gardnerella is metronidazole. Along with the use of the drug, appropriate behavioral measures are necessary. The main goal of treatment is the restoration of normal vaginal microflora as a result of acidification of the microenvironment and the destruction of pathogenic microorganisms.
To maintain a healthy balance of the vaginal flora and prevent the risk of overgrowth of the gardnerella, it is important to:
- use soap with physiological pH (4 or 5) for intimate hygiene;
- do not use intimate deodorants and contrast showers of the intimate area;
- avoid wearing synthetic underwear;
- tight trousers that retain moisture and heat, thereby creating favorable conditions for gardnerella;
- do not use daily pads, it is better to change cotton linen more often;
- always usecondoms during casual sex;
- avoid using shared towels;
- do not stay long in a wet swimsuit.
It is also necessary to follow a healthy, balanced diet, reducing the intake of sweets and simple sugars, and practice regular exercise.