Targeted Counseling to Reduce Incidence of Bacterial Vaginosis

Targeted Counseling to Reduce Incidence of Bacterial Vaginosis


Name: Monique Battle-Stallworth

Rank: Maj

Presenter/Poster: Both

Year: 2018


Background: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common gynecological infection among women ages 18-40, and the most prevalent complaint among deployed women. Of the many women affected, at least half will experience a relapse. The women’s health clinic at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (WHASC) serves a population of over 18,000 female military beneficiaries. The psychosocial and physiologic effects associated with BV can lead to absenteeism, which negatively impacts mission readiness. Limited studies show that behavioral modification to improve self-care behaviors may reduce frequency of acquiring BV.

Objective: This study aimed to determine the effects of targeted health counseling on incidence of bacterial vaginosis in non-pregnant females ages 18-40.

Methods: At WHASC women’s health clinic, a retrospective chart review was conducted to evaluate 131 incidences of BV and associated risk factors. Based on current evidence and application of the Health Belief Model (HBM), an educational intervention was designed. The intervention consisted of a seven-minute counseling session followed by dissemination of an evidence-based informational patient handout that was achieved during annual wellness exams and acute care visits. Post intervention follow-up consisted of another retrospective analysis to evaluate new occurrence of BV.

Significance of Findings: During military deployment, at least 1 in 10 women are diagnosed with a gynecologic disorder. Without treatment, vaginal infections lead to decreased comfort, concentration, and can compromise the member's ability to perform duties. Having access to the most current disease-specific health maintenance recommendations empowers women to take efficacious health actions towards disease prevention, thus minimizing susceptibility to vaginal infections.

Implications for Military Nursing: Vaginal infections have been identified as a common complaint among deployed women. When BV is not accurately diagnosed or treated, women may experience long-term complications to include pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, and infertility. Decreasing incidence will reduce the risks of long-term complications associated with repeated or inadequately treated vaginitis. Providers must ensure member readiness and preventative care maintenance before, during, and after deployment. Future research should focus on validation of this evidenced-based educational intervention.