Sunday, September 12, 2010

Woman With Chronic BV Asks: "Will Simply Taking Birth Control Pills, Then Going Off, Cure My Infertility?"


Hello. My partner and I have been together for 3 years and have not been able to conceive. He has a daughter from another relationship. We are pretty sure I'm the problem. I was told by a gyno that with some people to treat infertility they are put on the pill and taken off and then they see if they can get pregnant. Is this true? If so how long should I go on the pill. Also I have chronic bv (bacterial vaginosis) could this contribute to infertility?

I was on birth control 5 years ago... I've taken the pill patch and nuva ring. Since I got off we haven't used protection ever and have never gotten pregnant. I have pretty regular periods. They are off no more then 3 days at the most.

Thank you! R. from the U.S.


Hello R. from the U.S.,

The answer to your first question is absolutely NO. That is a wives tale propagated by Gynecologists that don't know better.

Regarding the BV: Chronic vaginal infections can certainly kill the sperm, thereby preventing pregnancy. When you have Bacterial Vaginosis, there are changes to the acid environment of your vagina. Many factors can contribute to BV including: use of highly scented soaps, douches and bubble baths; use of an IUD or the coil; or because of certain types of sexual acts. It can also happen when the pH level of the vagina alters during the menstrual cycle. But it can also happen without any of these factors in place. It is, after all, the most common form of odorless bacterial discharge.

Bacterial Vaginosis is easily treated with antibiotics, like metronidazole or clindamycin. Women who are trying to become pregnant should be treated with an oral antibiotic. In fact, the Center for Disease Control recommends that all women receive some form of treatment for the condition because there is some evidence that chronic bacterial vaginosis could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. With chronic, unresolved BV, the solution would be to do intrauterine insemination (IUI), to bypass the bacteria.

My recommendation is to see a fertility specialist. You are at the point where you need to undergo an infertility evaluation and your Gyno is not going to be able to help. Since your partner has had children before, you could assume that he is fertile, but you never know. Things change with time. Also, you don't seem to have any obvious reason, other than the BV, as to why you are not getting pregnant so the only way to find out what the problem is, is to have an evaluation. Once this is done and the problem(s) found, an appropriate treatment can be provided for you to achieve pregnancy.

Good Luck,
Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.

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