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Info on Group B Strep Please!

I just recently got diagnosed with Group B Step. I'd really like to know more about it. From what I've been looking up it mostly effects pregnant women and newborns, I don't fall under either of those catagories. My doctor said that it most likely happend from having sex with my (monogomous)partner. He's been away, at war, for about 10 months and when he came home we obviously were trying to make up for lost time in the sex department. About two weeks from the time we started having sex again I started to get symtoms similar to that of a yeast infection. (which I sometimes get) I noticed though that the symptoms were stlightly different, which concerned me, usually when I get yeast infections, I'll have some discharge with minimal itching. This time there was little discharge and the itching was through the roof. So, I went to the doctor and they tested me for a bunch of different STDs and baterial infections as well. I didn't have any STDs and she said that this GBS isn't serious and she put me on a antibiotic supository.I'd like to know more about GBS.  I know that it can go back and forth between two people from having sex. I realize it's not the same thing as when you have strep throat, but is it possible that because my boyfriend was sick while preforming oral sex on me I got this GBS? Or, is this strictly a genital thing. Also I know it can effect the anal area too, which I think it may have, will that be cleared up with the antibiotic supository that she put me on? Is this likely to come back again? Are there things I can do to prevent this from happening?
59 Responses
154929 tn?1196191338
if they think it was caught from your BF-I would also have him treated with antibiotics that way it will not pass back to you from sex again--usually GBS i snot serious--most of the time it is not even checked for on a regular pap--they are usually only cocerned when you are pg---
Avatar universal
Group b strep is a part of the natural flora in your vagina.  When you are sick or stressed it can multiply and sort of take over.  There are not usually any symptoms involved.  A few may run a low grade fever.  But it is true that you really do not have to worry much about it unless you are pregnant.  There are special precautions that a dr takes to prevent a respiratory infection from an exposed infant.  They give you antibiotics during labor and usually don't let you go over 12 hours with your water broke before delivery.  They will observe the infant extra close for fever and/or breathing difficulties from the gbs.  Otherwise, don't worry.  It is very common.
Avatar universal
It is extremely difficult to find information about group b strep infections in adults because, although colonization is common, infections are less so in adults under the age of 60. It is believed that other conditions affecting your immune system, such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, HIV, or other infections can allow GBS to grow out of control and lead to more serious health issues.

My best advice is to find a doctor who is willing to think creatively about your problem and not just repeatedly put you on the same antibiotic time after time. It is quite likely that whatever underlying condition allowed the gbs to go out of control in the first place will also keep it from clearing up easily.
Avatar universal
First of all - I'm happy that you have your partner back!  Do not leap to conclusions that this is some sort of sexually transmitted disease.  I saw a man with urethritis who told me, "Chlamydia?  You're saying I should go home and shoot my wife!"  I have never heard of Group B Strep referred to that way, for what it's worth.  If it can be transmitted, it is likely to be transmitted with other STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, etc... so if all these checked out negative then there's no reason to be suspicious of your mate.

If GBS was cultured from a swab, it is most likely benign vaginal flora.  That is, something else is probably causing your vaginal inflammation.

I'm interested in whether you and your partner were trying a new type of condom, diaphragm, lubricant oil, sex toy, or anything else that came in contact with your vaginal vault in the area that you are describing -- then you might have had an allergic reaction locally to this.  (In which case, obviously, antibiotics wouldn't help you.)  It could also be caused simply by abrasion (if you and your partner were having "rough" sex or repeatedly throughout the day.)  Your doctor should have been but may not have been comfortable discussing all this with you.  Sexual education is lacking even in medical school.  Thus it is best to be forthright and voluntary about all this with your physician when relevant to your problem.  Few physicians would judge such a statement (and you don't want to have those people as physicians, anyway).

That said, what the others said above is true.  Many stresses, etc etc can depress our immune systems quite a bit -- which can cause bacterial overgrowth and disease.

Estrogen levels can cause funny things to happen not only in your vagina but also in the uterus and elsewhere.  If you were bleeding in that area or have noticed infertility, increased facial hair, pronounced Adam's apple, or deepening voice, then it is important to see your primary physician again for referral to an endocrinologist.  Again, this is usually associated with pain and bleeding during intercourse and not itching -- but it's worth mentioning simply because it would be a shame to miss it.

The reason it's important to distinguish is that inflammation of a non-infectious cause could probably better be treated with immune depressants locally such as a topical steroid like a stronger cortisone cream.  Estrogen deficiency would require a more formal and extended evaluation.

These are just things that would be on my differential diagnosis.  I wouldn't be too hung up on Strep B, which would be relatively low on my list.  Anywhere from 10-50% of women have perfectly benign (until pregnancy) vaginal colonization by Strep B.  IF YOU GET PREGNANT -- it is VERY important for you to let your OB/Gyn know that you are Strep B positive.  Most hospitals and private OB's have Strep B screening as standard of care, but I'm sure there are some that still do not routinely screen.  Your OB/Gyn will tell you what to expect and how to prepare for delivery.

Avatar universal
From seeing some of the answers posted here, I see that some of these folks have never had a group b strep infection which is completely different than being colonized. A group b strep infection is so much worse than a yeast infection, and not just in the level of itchiness.

Group b strep is not technically considered to be a sexual transmitted disease. However, it can be transmitted sexually via intercourse, oral sex, and even just transfer from fingering by someone who hasn't washed their hands very well as GBS can live on the skin or under the nails. So your husband, who was in the service could have picked it up from the close quarters and less than hygienic conditions I can only imagine are present in the military, and then passed it along to you via more personal contact.

The problem with GBS infections is that they can be difficult to cure. You could have some underlying condition that makes it difficult for your body to keep it in check on its own, otherwise exposure to it would simply make you colonized vs. infected.

If your colonized partner is not treated at the same time as you are treated, yes, you can be reinfected. The best case scenario would be that both of you are treated and both of you are clear of GBS after the first treatment. However, if the infection recurs, you could be looking at a very difficult struggle with doctors who have no idea how to treat a recurring infection in a non-pregnant adult as it is rare, less than 1 in 100,000 cases! And it can recur even if you had no additional contact with someone who is colonized simply because the initial infection wasn't cleared completely. It may take a few weeks for the overgrowth to return to the point that it causes symptoms again.

If the infection does recur, repeated treatments with antibiotics can also have serious problems. It can cause colitis or a gastrointestinal infection with the bacteria C difficile which can cause persistent watery diarrhea up to 10 times a day. You can develop an allergic reaction to the antibiotics which can damage your lymphatic system, heart and even your brain. And the strain you are carrying can develop antibiotic resistance making it even more difficult to cure.

If treatment doesn't work, a group b strep infection can progress to a bladder infection even if you no longer have vaginal symptoms and possibly cause kidney damage.  And worst case scenario, it can get into your blood stream, known as sepsis, and can cause meningitis, heart infections and even be fatal. So if anyone says don't worry about it, it's just your normal flora being out of whack, get a second opinion. Get vaginal swabs taken and get your urine analyzed until you are sure that it is gone! And not just the week after you finish the antibiotics, but again a few weeks later after it has had a chance to "grow back".

All of that said, if you are a healthy adult, you should be able to fight it off. But you may have a difficult time finding a doctor who is willing to take the time to help you solve the mystery, know what tests to order, and when. And don't forget to look for any underlying conditions that might be affecting your immune system including diabetes, cancer, vascular issues, hormone imbalances, and HIV.

Best of luck to anyone who does have to deal with a recurrent infection.
Avatar universal
Ok Group Strep B is present in the gential tracts in 40 percent of women so it's not that rare! Here is what I did to help cure it. It's hard to elimate Strep B, but with supplements you can make the environment it lives in hostile, This is what I did.

Ok I too am someone who has Group Strep B and is NOT pregnant. I believed it started after I overused antibiotics like Diflucan and Flagyl to help with horrible itching I was having in the feminine area (vaginitis).

When the itching finally stopped after 5 Diflucan, I was left with yellow discharge and a diagnosis or Group Strep B from my gyno. I had changed the PH balance of my feminine area and that is what make Strep B overgrow.

The gyno tried to give me Boric Acid Suppositories in hopes of changing my PH but that didn't work. Penicillin helped but still a yellow discharge was there. Finally I did alot of internet research and tried this! It worked! White clear discharge and maybe one yellow dot at times but clearing 110 percent better. Read on

Take two tablets twice a day unless stated below- All can be found in the healthfood store.

Bee Propolis
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Super Echinacea
PH-Basic (plant caplet to regulate PH- 5 a day)
Vitamin C (1000mg) - might be one tablet
Colloidal Silver (only once a day)

This worked for me within HOURS. This is the first time I haven't had to wear a pantyliner in 6 months! I had great results with this, hope it helps. Btw other people have also tried Garlic clovers or capsules added to this list with success, but I didnt.

Avatar universal
I am having a horrible time with Strep B which has reoccured twice in this last year. The first time I took anti-biotics which then caused C.Difficile bacteria which is the most horrible bacteria to have. It cost me thousands of dollars to get rid of and months of painful sickness. Now I have Strep B again and I am afraid to take antibiotics b/c of the likelihood of getting C.Diff again. I have tried Boric acid and Clyndamycin cream inserted into the vagina. Both have not worked and so I am stuck with the discharge and itching. Very uncomfortable. I cannot have sex with my husband either which puts a damper on a marriage. I have tried so many things that now I feel like I will be cursed with this forever.

Avatar universal
I have also being diagnosed with Group B strep, the itchiness due to the yeast infection that i had before, i thought. But the doctor said all tests went negative on yeast and chlamedia, however the test on Group B strep went positive, she gave me antibiotics Ampicilin and Deflucan from yeast just in case. But as i have read from the above the antibiotics can cause your body to resist to them later on. So i don't know what to do. I agree that the itchiness may be due to the stress that i underwent during this holiday season and may be due increased sugar intake again because of holiday tables and guests, you just everything when you are invited, or hosting. Anyway, i think the diet has effect on it as well. So now i'm eating a lot of garlic and actually my mother told me to drink chopped garlic first thing in the morning with glass of water and don't stress, the itchiness is still there a little. I'm not sure if i should take antibiotics and when to have intercourse again with my husband. Should i treat him also, if yes shall we go to my doctor or to find a separate one for him and what is the name of the doctors who treat men from Strep B. Please advise. Thank you a lot.
Avatar universal
i have suffered with symptoms for over a year now that includes odor that comes and goes, a watery discharge also comes and goes, occasional burning with urination, and vaginal pain. I have been treated with metronidazole for BV several times. The gyno always does a wet mount test and says its bv, but I have been researching vaginal strep, because the medication never seems to take it away. Its like it is resistant to the medicine and is constanly there. That is why I research different things myself. I am thinking I will ask for the gyn to do a culture and see what it says.
Avatar universal
I have vaginal strep after having swabs done. first they thought it was urine so they put me on microbid now I am on a different antibiodic and stop in the middle of the last one. I have great pain in my vaginia and now my throat and ears hurt help
Avatar universal
I found this forum several months ago after experiencing repeated overgrowth of strep B. The symptoms were in line with what most have posted above.  With me, the overgrowth was occuring within a few days of my menstrual cycle, very predictable. The first time, i stuck it out, and it eventually cleared, the next month i went to the gyno. she did a culture and told me strep B, heavy growth. As others have stated, strep B is naturally occurring in the vagina, but something occurs in the body to throw your ph off.
For me, I think it may have to do with changes in my estrogen levels, I am 44.  After using antibiotics several months in a row, i found this forum and soem advice
For the past several months I have been taking a high quality vaginal flora supplement. I found this at my local health food store. It is like acidophilus, but is specifically vaginal flora rather than intestinal flora.  Becuase my symptoms were predictable based on my period, I take the supplement for about 10 days beginning with the day my cycle begins.  All i can say is this is working for me and my dr did not have a clue. she probably would have continued treating me with antibiotics every month.
Thanks for those who led me to this remedy.
Avatar universal
My dr told me I had strep b...twice. First time I was on Penicillin for 10 days (4x a day) and the second time she put me and my husband on penicillin. Since Streb B is found in your system anyway and usually causes no symptoms, I was wondering what was going on. I was complaining about itching on the OUTSIDE and irritation along my inner thigh where it meets up with my privates along with burning sensation in my butt. Finally after my dr could offer no answers I went to a gyno who asked one simple question....do you bathe or use perfumed scented soaps, detergents, or bathroom wipes? BINGO. Stopped using all that stuff and symptoms cleared up IMMEDIATELY. Moral of the story...if you keep having the same problems and are going to the same dr with no relief or answers...switch doctors!!! If I would have done this months ago, I would have saved myself time, money, and needless suffering.
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with strep b, after I had my son a year ago. My doctor, forgot to change her gloves when my placenta didn't want to come out on its own. She went back, scratched it all out of my stomach which gave me infection 2 weeks later after having my son. I was back in the hospital. I was on Diflucan and Flagyl, it helped for the infection in my stomach. However, when I tried having sexual intercourse later down the road,  thats when I knew something was wrong. I went to my family doctor and she diagnosed me taking culture swab. She didn't know too much about it, said theres really nothing can do, just let it run its course. Then she said birth control may help it, and the chemical changing balance. I have been on a year. It helps, but now that I am stress or forget to take it, it comes back like ten times bad. Its so bad, I don't even want to have sex, I get turned off when I even think about it,  because I just break out from a rash and itch extremely bad. I dont know what to do, I know when I take a shower, use my sons body wash with shea & coco it helps washing, and using collidal silver every once in awhile, but it never goes away. I will try those capsuls that you ladies list. Hopefully it will help, because this is taking a toll on my relationship....
Avatar universal
I have read all the posts here, and I too have been having the same problem.  Disparneuria, vaginal fissures, stabbing pain, burning and sometimes itching.  I have been dealing with this for over 10 years!!!!!!  And I have been through 8 doctors, and have been told I'm an enigma.  I was seen by  a vulvologist for vulvadynia, have been tested for all stds and all are negative, even herpes, so nothing shows up to explain the pain.   Finally, 13 years later and doctor # 9, takes a simple wet prep and says I have vaginal strep and have no "normal" bacteria in my vagina.  I'm told that this can explain all my symptoms, and that I have to restore the natural vaginal flora with a special cream I have to get from a compound pharmacy and use for 6 weeks.  I was told this is very difficult to treat because the dr suspects I was over-treated with antibiotics and for yeast when that was not the problem for the past 13 years!!!!  Because of this, I have not been able to have intercourse with my husband or have children, which now I'm too old for!!!!  I am hoping dr # 9 is finally the answer to my prayers!!!!!!!!!  
Avatar universal
I found out I had GBS while pregnant. I had absolutely no syptoms at all. A high percentage of woman carry strep B but never know. It is not a huge issue. I had a course of antibiotics and it tested negative two weeks later on a swab test. Group B Strep is not an issue for woman, it is only an issue for a baby that is to pass throught the birth canal because of possible infection passing to eyes and respiratory system.
Avatar universal

Like all of you, I struggled for years with chronic mysterious infections that were classified as either BV or yeast. I was tested for every STD under the sun and never had any of them. I was given every possible prescription for BV and yeast infections and absolutely nothing helped. I continued having chronic yellow or clear discharge, often very heavy especially after my period.

After years of suffering I found something that truly changed everything for me. On a trip to England while browsing in a pharmacy I found Balance Activ vaginal gel, a vaginal gel containing lactic acid. The gel is used to treat symptoms of bacterial vaginosis but recent studies are showing that there are positive benefits for women who test positive for BV.

I have never had children so pregnancy is not the issue for me. Instead, my problem has always been the chronic symptoms of vaginal infections that never respond to medications or over the counter remedies.

Balance Activ is not currently sold in the United States but some retailers offer it online. Visit www.balanceactiv.com for more information and let Balance Activ know that you're interested in having the product in the US. It works and has no side effects!

My heart goes out to all of you!
Avatar universal
Also, Lactacyd, a vaginal soap containing lactic acid, also helps soothe symptoms.
Avatar universal
Hi all,
I have been suffering from Srep B for about a year now. I constantly itch n it itches badly, to the point that I will scratch myself even in public, due to the unbearable itch. And nights are disturbed, with me waking up scratching and going for a cold wash. 6 months into it, I thought enough was enough and went to a gynae who prescribed augmentin which is a anti biotic that kills all your good and bad bacteria. My itch instantly disappears. Unfortunately the itch came back in full swing in a month and when I consulted the gynae again, he seems uncertain if he can cure me and suggested more lab tests.
I was convinced that the western medicine couldn't heal me and starting trying all sorts of natural remedies to balance the bacteria.
Eventually I found this to work for me! The itch is not totally gone but it's so manageable now!
1 multidophilus 12 x 4 a day ( tis is a microorganism, by taking this, u r feeding gd bacteria into yr body)
2 cranberry pills x2 a day
3 vitamin c 1000mg x 1 a day

A visit to GNC shd get u above supplements!
Good luck!
4 2 cloves raw garlic
Avatar universal
So happy to find this site.  My doctors think I'm crazy - saying Group B Strep has no symptoms.  I've had it for YEARSSSSSSSSS thinking I had some crazy yeast infection problem that could never be cured.  I am no so sure that there is an answer to this problem - but it's just nice to know that I'm not alone.  
Avatar universal
Thank GOD i found this site i was diagnosed with strep b after i swelled in my vaginal area and had welts going down my thighs i was in so much pain and the inching was so bad i thought that i would die, well like all of you i was put on antibiotics and it got better but it has never gone away it has been going on 6 months now i told my husband i cant keep going on like this, i am going to go to the heath food store and give the natural remedies a try.    
Avatar universal
Thank GOD i found this site i was diagnosed with strep b after i swelled in my vaginal area and had welts going down my thighs i was in so much pain and the inching was so bad i thought that i would die, well like all of you i was put on antibiotics and it got better but it has never gone away it has been going on 6 months now i told my husband i cant keep going on like this, i am going to go to the heath food store and give the natural remedies a try.    
Avatar universal
I have the same problem. It went away after double rinsing my underwear and washing it in baby laundry soup. After I dry my laundry I rinse my underwear in a sink couple times and let it air dry. It helped.
Avatar universal
I too have been diagnosed with Group B Strep ...but rather than vaginal discharge, I have rectal discharge and intense itching.  The moisture around the rectum tested positive for yeast, however the culture revealed GBS.  Seems that I have an infection within the intestinal tract that is causing this discharge?  It's been ongoing for 10+ months.  Help!!
Avatar universal
I am pregnate and was diagnosed with group B strep. I always thought I had yiest infection because it burns when I try to have sex, and after when I urinate. Can gbs cause this?? Anyone I want to enjoy sex again. Will wat the doctor give me get rid of my symptoms?
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