Gardnerella vaginalis

Pelvis | Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Gardnerella vaginalis (Disease)


A woman with bacterial vaginitis has irritation and inflammation of the vaginal lining due to an overgrowth of bacteria. Normally, bacteria and yeast live in the vagina without causing symptoms. Gardnerella bacteria are the most common cause of bacterial vaginitis.

Although G. vaginalis is a major species present in bacterial vaginosis, it can also be isolated from women without any signs or symptoms of infection. It has a Gram-positive cell wall, but because the cell wall is so thin it can appear either Gram-positive or Gram-negative under the microscope. It is associated microscopically with clue cells, which are epithelial cells covered in bacteria. G. Vaginalis produces a pore-forming toxin, vaginolysin, which affects only human cells. Gardnerella vaginalis may be associated with a condition called bacterial vaginosis, whose symtoms include vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation, and a fish like odor.

Causes and Risk factors

Gardnerella vaginalis is a vaginal infection from overgrowth of the bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis. This disorder is also called bacterial vaginosis (BV). Left untreated BV can cause infection of the tubes and uterus (pelvic inflammatory disease / PID) and lead to fertility problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment

While typically isolated in genital cultures, it may also be detected in other samples from blood, urine, and pharynx. G. vaginalis is sexually transmitted. In the amine whiff test 10% KOH is added to the discharge, a positive result indicated if a fishy smell is produced.

This and other tests can be used to distinguish between vaginal symptoms related to G. vaginalis from those caused by other organisms, such as Trichomonas and Candida albicans, which are similar and may require different treatment. ...

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