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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Got a Clue? Meaning Clue Cells, Meaning Bacterial Infection? Well, Here's How You Get Rid of It!

To those with intimate gyno knowledge, the Clue cell is a nick name for vaginal wall cells, seen on a smear, that have bacteria on their surface. Your gyno will see these when you come in to be evaluated and she looks at a smear under the microscope. In actuality that is all that is needed for a fairly firm diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis, and it's a quick and relatively cost effective way of making that diagnosis too. These cells can be detected on smear when women have  Bacterial Vaginoisis (BV). This infection gets started when you loose the normal vaginal lactobacilli that produce the hydrogen peroxide discharge that keeps the vagina very acidic. If the pH changes, becomes too basic, other bacteria will overgrow. And those there are normally over 100,000 colonies of bacteria growing in the vagina, and those that produce BV are only 1%, a slight increase in that 1% can cause the infection. Vaginal itching is very common in with these infections, and it can occur in women of any age including older women and young girls. BV is not a sexually transmitted disease for the most part, it's just an imbalance of normal bacteria. Exactly the cause of the imbalance is unclear in most cases. Too frequent sex, too much douching, antibiotic use, smoking, and gyno procedures, probably all contribute to most cases we see. BV most commonly has a thin white or grey discharge, and a distinct odor described as fishy. Both yeast infections and bacterial infections are known to both produce vaginal itching and vaginal discharge. Treatment should be done in consultation with your gyno or another health care provider, and is usually 75-85% effective, so it's not uncommon to need to go back for a gyno check up once you have one of these infections.  BV that occurs four or more times a year is considered chronic, and just treating this episode is not going to be enough. You may find your gyno recommending twice weekly treatment for 6 months, but first they will probably have you coming in to be cultured and really identify the organism they are treating and what antibiotics will work. So if you think you have chronic infections, don't give up, come in and be tested. And there may be a need to treat the guy too. And now at Women's Health Practice we have expanced male partner testing. We can test his urine to see if he has infections that can be passed on: including testing for HPV in urine.

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