channel/life

Contact With Penis — Especially With Semen — Changes Vaginal Flora And Can Cause Vaginosis

vagina muda sexo 1016 1400x800 capa
arte/vix

The vagina has a lot of bacteria that live in balance to protect women's intimate areas. When it is healthy, you can predominantly find a bacteria called Lactobacillus crispatus. This bacteria is responsible for protecting the vagina from the proliferation of other bacteria.

However, a drop in immunity or contact with other microorganisms can mess up this balance, generating infections and discomfort to the woman.

Infection in the vagina can be caused by sex

When the vaginal bacterial flora is not balanced, it creates a favorable environment for the development of other types of bacteria that can lead to an infection called bacterial vaginosis. Vaginosis is a very common disease in women and it causes itching, strong odor and discharge.

Until recently it was believed that this infection was always caused by some habits: poor intimate hygiene, vaginal douching, use of cosmetics such as wet wipes and intimate deodorant and prolonged use of very tight clothes or synthetic fabrics.

However, a study led by Lenka Vodstrcil, at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, in Australia, found out that there might be another factor responsible for causing the disease: the penis.

According to an analysis published on the website of scientific journal Plos, bad bacteria can be transmitted through unprotected sex, the same way it happens with bacteria that can cause sexually transmitted diseases.

How was the research done?

sangramento apos sexo 1400x800 0317 0
Dmitri Ma/shutterstock

In the research, volunteers collected samples of their vaginal discharge every three months for a year, besides keeping a record of their sexual lives. They had to record whether they did not have sexual intercourse, whether they had intercourse with the pull-out method, or whether the sex was unprotected, with ejaculation inside the vagina.

The study showed that the number of Gardnerella Vaginalis and Lactobacillus was higher in women who had sexual intercourse without protection.

"Sex with penetration increased the diversity of Gardnerella Vaginalis in young women with or without bacterial vaginosis, suggesting sexual transmission from a group of potentially pathological organisms," the researchers said after the study.

The ones who had contact with their partner's semen showed an even higher concentration of bacteria, suggesting that the risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis increases when there is ejaculation.

Treatment

vagina mao virilha dor cheiro 0417 1400x800 0
Voyagerix / iStock

According to gynecologist and obstetrician Heloisa Brudniewski in an interview with Vix, more than half of the women affected by the condition have no symptoms. However, those who develop signs usually observe a gray and milky discharge, pain during intercourse, itching and pungent smell in the vagina.

Usually, the body can take care of the infection by itself as long as the vagina's pH is restored. However, if the condition is persistent, the woman should seek medical help and treatment.

Flávia Fairbanks, gynecologist and obstetrician, says it is necessary to investigate what is causing vaginosis. If the infection is cured without treating the cause, it is likely to reappear.

It is also necessary to rebalance the bacteria in the vagina. Flavia says that oral or vaginal antibiotics are used for that, as well as food with probiotics, such as yogurt and milk.

Translated article original published on VIX Brazil, by Giovanna Mazzeo.