Aerobic Vaginitis - Similar To, But Different From, BV

Aerobic vaginitis (AV) is a bacterial infection with vaginal discharge that is often mistaken for BV (bacterial vaginosis). How do you tell the difference?

Knowing the differences can mean being cured - or not.

In reality, you cannot by yourself tell the difference. You can suspect that you have AV and/or BV, but the diagnosis isn’t confirmed until a sample of your vaginal cells is viewed under a microscope with wet mount. 

Therefore, AV needs to be diagnosed by a healthcare practitioner because it is only one of several causes of vaginitis. Without an accurate diagnosis, you may be treating your condition incorrectly which could result in an antibiotic-resistant infection and/or more serious complications such as desquamative inflammatory vaginitis, increased risk of preterm delivery, chorioamnionitis, and funisitis of the fetus during pregnancy.

Please do not self-diagnose!

So, What is Aerobic Vaginitis?

AV is defined by researchers as a disruption in the Lactobacillus species as a predominant species in the vaginal flora accompanied by signs of inflammation by immune-system involvement and a predominantly aerobic flora.

Five different criteria of the vagina are looked at, and each is graded on a scale of 0 (absent), 1 (moderate) or 2 (severe) for a total maximum of 10 points:

  1. Lactobacillary grading: is Lactobacillus the predominant group?
  2. Proportional number of leukocytes (immune-system white blood cells)
  3. The ability of those leukocytes to dispose of cellular garbage and recycle parts
  4. Background flora
  5. Vaginal “skin” cell types

BV, you might recall, is caused by predominantly anaerobic bacteria overgrowth and usually does not involve malfunctioning white blood cells, high levels of pro-inflammatory immune-system chemicals or a certain type of vaginal cell.

In AV, only aerobic bacteria, and mostly those that are frequently found in the intestines, such as pathogenic E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, group B streptococcus, and enterococci are recovered. However, intermediate forms of AV may exist with a mixed flora type.

AV can also be part of a mixed infection with BV, with an STD such as trichomoniasis or with a fungus. The most severe form of AV is desquamative inflammatory vaginitis. Can you see why it’s best to have an accurate diagnosis?

What are the Symptoms and Treatments for AV?

To read about the common symptoms and treatments for aerobic vaginitis, including probiotics,  see this page.

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