Is Gardnerella a Sexually Transmitted Disease?

Gardnerella

Have you ever heard of a sexually transmitted disease known as “Gardnerella”? If you have, how much information do you have on it?

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some people to experience symptoms of infections they have no idea about. 

Find out in this article all you need to know about Gardnerella.

Table of Contents

What is Gardnerella?

Gardnerella is a bacteria that is commonly found in vaginal and intestinal tracts. It can cause vaginitis, which is an inflammation of the vagina. This condition usually occurs when there are too many or too few good bacteria in your system. 

Research has proven that this infection is sexually-related and can be transmitted through sexual activities.

However, the infection can be influenced from a woman to a man or a woman to another woman but not from a man to a woman. This simply explains that women are the primary host of this infection.

Some factors trigger the effect of this transmissible disease. Though research hasn’t proven any particular cause of Gardnerella, the list below can trigger its manifestation. 

3 Things that spark off the manifestation of Gardnerella

  1. Douching

This is the habit of rinsing the vagina with cleansing agents or water. This practice disturbs the natural balance of the genital. In addition, douching could result in an overgrowth of anaerobic bacterias, leading to Gardnerella. The vagina is self-cleansing and therefore does not need douching. 

  1. Natural lack of lactobacilli

Lactobacilli are bacteria that produce lactic acid by breaking down bacteria. When the surrounding of the genital does not introduce a sufficient amount of lactobacilli, there is a possibility of developing Gardnerella. 

  1. Having multiple sexual partners

There is a significant link between sexual intimacy and Gardnerella. This infection is common mostly in women who have sexual contact with multiple sex partners.

However, it could also exist in women who have sex with women. Here, the risk of sleeping with an infected partner is very high.

Since Gardnerella is a vaginal infection, it is known to manifest some discomforting symptoms if not adequately addressed.

Read along to find out some of the complications associated with Gardnerella. 

Complications of Gardnerella

If Gardnerella is not quickly detected and is left unattended to, it might lead to the following. 

  • Increased risk of other STIs

If the infection is not quickly discovered or left unattended, or not adequately managed, it could result in other sexually transmitted infections. These include infections such as HIV, chlamydia or gonorrhea, herpes simplex virus, and such. 

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Delayed detection and treatment of Gardnerella can lead to PID, affecting the fallopian tubes and uterus. PID increases the risk of infertility.

  • Premature birth

If an expecting mother is diagnosed with Gardnerella and not treated quickly, it might likely result in untimely deliveries and reduced baby weight. 

Notwithstanding, if you are lucky enough to be free from Gardnerella, there are preventive measures to avoid being infected. Below are the preventive measures:

Simple ways to prevent Gardnerella

  •  Avoid douching

The female genital possesses the self-cleaning ability, therefore, does not need extra washing. All the vagina needs is routine bathing and a mild surface wash. Douching interferes with the vaginal balance, thereby increasing the chances of genital infections. 

  • Avoid STIs

Prevention, they say, is better than cure. For example, it’s better to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections by using a condom if it’s difficult to abstain from sexual activities. 

  • Reduce the number of sex partners

To avoid Gardnerella, it is advisable to reduce the number of sex partners. If possible, stick to just one sex partner. This will minimize your chances of being infected. 

  • Reduce genital sensitivity

It’s medically advisable to minimize the rate at which we cause the vagina to be irritated. If you need to wash your genitals after sex, use a nondeodorant, mild soap, and pads without scents. This way, you can minimize the chances of vaginal irritation. 

  • Wear breathable underwear 

Cotton underwear is the best option in this case. Always put on underwear that allows penetration of air into the genitals. 

  • Intake of probiotics supplement 

Probiotics are combinations of yeast and bacterias that reside in the body. Taking in foods that boost the probiotics in the body will be a great way to improve your vaginal health, thereby preventing Gardnerella. 

There are lots of foods and drinks that are good supplements of probiotics. 

8 Grear sources of Probiotics

  1. Kefir: Made by combining kefir grain with goat’s or cow’s milk.
  2. Tempeh: This is a product of fermented soybean. It forms a paste with a scent that is similar to a mushroom. 
  3. Kimchi: It is specifically made from cabbage and other ingredients. It is a Korean side dish that is usually fermented and spicy.
  4. Miso: This is a Japanese seasoning traditionally prepared by fermenting soybean with salt and a particular type of fungus called Koji. It can also be prepared by combining soybeans with rye, barley, and rice. 
  5. Pickles: This is also referred to as gherkins. They are made by immersing cucumbers in water and salt solution.
  6. Traditional Buttermilk: This refers to soured creamy drinks. They could either be conventional or cultured.
  7. Sauerkraut: This is prepared by fermenting finely shredded cabbage using lactic acid bacteria. 
  8. Yogurt: This is an essential source of probiotics. It is made from soured milk that has been acted upon by lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.

Having discussed how we can prevent Gardnerella, it’s time to look at the symptoms accompanying this infection.

Symptoms of Gardnerella

In this section, we’d be discussing the symptoms that can be found both in women and men alike. 

Symptoms of Gardnerella in women

  • Small sores on the genitals
  • Experiencing severe pains during sexual Intimacy 
  • Offensive odor becomes worst after an unprotected sexual intercourse 
  • Grey or whitish discharge from the vagina

Symptoms of Gardnerella in men

  • Yellowish discharge from the penis
  • Redness on the foreskin or urethra
  • Unbearable pain during urination
  • Itchy genitals

Fortunately, there is a treatment for this dreadful infection. So how can an infected person be treated? 

Treatment of Gardnerella

Gardnerella can be treated by the use of prescribed antibiotics. These antibiotics can either be taken orally or vaginally (by inserting into the genitals).

Taking antibiotics through vaginal insertion has fewer side effects than the oral method. Your doctor could also prescribe a gel or cream that should be applied to the vaginal surroundings.

Pregnant women should not take these antibiotics. So if you are pregnant and you think you have been infected, it’s advisable to see your doctor. 

Conclusion

Gardnerella is an infection that can be transmitted sexually from woman to man. This makes every woman a potential carrier. 

Fortunately, Gardnerella can be prevented by taking lots of homemade probiotic supplements. In addition, this infection is easily treatable using the proper medications.

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