What is bacterial vaginosis?

 What is bacterial vaginosis?

A bacterial imbalance results in bacterial overgrowth, which leads to bacterial imbalance and bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common vaginal illness. A "fishy"-smelling vaginal discharge that is off-white or grey is one of the symptoms. While in some women BV resolves on its own, in others it is effectively treated with antibiotics.

Bacteria bring on the vaginal illness known as bacterial vaginosis (BV). It is the most frequent reason women of reproductive age have abnormal vaginal discharge (women who have not gone through menopause yet). Some women may have vaginal discomfort and a "fishy" odor due to bacterial vaginosis. Others could be symptom-free.

Bacterial vaginosis is linked to poor obstetric and gynecologic outcomes, including premature birth and infection following procedures like hysterectomy, and may increase a woman's susceptibility to STDs, including HIV.

Bacterial vaginosis is a form of vaginal irritation brought on by an overabundance of the normally occurring bacteria in the vagina, which throws off the delicate balance.

Although it can afflict women of any age, bacterial vaginosis is more common in women in their reproductive years. The exact reason is unknown, however certain behaviors like unprotected intercourse or regular douching raise your risk. 

How does bacterial vaginosis (BV) spread?

Even if you haven't had intercourse, anyone with a vagina can have bacterial vaginosis (BV). But that's unusual. Sexually active individuals are more likely to experience it. You could be more susceptible to developing BV if you:

Are expecting.

  • Avoid using dental dams or condoms.
  • Having a uterine device (IUD).
  • Have a number of sexual partners.
  • Find a new companion for sex.
  • Have a female partner for sex.
  • Use douches.

The most typical vaginal issue among females between the ages of 15 and 44 is bacterial vaginosis (BV). In fact, BV is predicted to affect one in three American women. Black women have a higher incidence rate.

Symptoms and when to consult a physician

Signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis might include:

  • Vaginal discharge that is thin, grey, white, or green.
  • The vaginal odor is "fishy" and unpleasant.
  • Itches in the vagina.
  • Urination that causes burning.
  • Many women who have bacterial vaginosis show no symptoms at all.

Set up a consultation with your doctor if:

You experience fresh vaginal discharge that is accompanied by a temperature or odor. Your doctor can assist in identifying the cause as well as the symptoms and indicators.

You've previously experienced vaginal infections, but this time your discharge appears unusual in terms of color and consistency.

You have a recent new relationship or several sexual partners. The warning signs and symptoms of an STI might occasionally resemble those of bacterial vaginosis.

You attempt over-the-counter self-care treatment for a yeast infection, but your symptoms continue.


One of the many bacteria that are normally present in your vagina causes bacterial vaginosis when it overgrows. Lactobacilli, the "good" bacteria, typically outweigh "bad" bacteria (anaerobes). However, an excess of anaerobic bacteria can lead to bacterial vaginosis by upsetting the normal balance of microorganisms in your vagina.

Risk elements

The following are risk factors for bacterial vaginosis.

A new sex partner or several sex partners. Although the connection between sexual activity and bacterial vaginosis is not entirely understood by medical professionals, the illness is more common in women who have several sex partners or a new sex partner. Additionally, women who have intercourse with other women are more likely to contract bacterial vaginosis.

Douching. Douching is a process that disturbs the natural equilibrium of your vagina by washing it out with water or a cleansing substance. Anaerobic bacteria may overgrow as a result, which can result in bacterial vaginosis. Douching is not required since the vagina cleans itself.

Lack of lactobacilli bacteria by nature. If the beneficial lactobacilli bacteria aren't produced in sufficient amounts in your natural vaginal environment, you're more prone to develop bacterial vaginosis.


Bacterial vaginosis often has no complications. Bacterial vaginosis can occasionally cause.

Preterm delivery. Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy is associated with early delivery and low birth weight kids.

Infections are spread by sexual contact. Women who have bacterial vaginosis are more likely to get STIs such as HIV, herpes simplex virus, chlamydia, or gonorrhea. Bacterial vaginosis increases the likelihood that you may transmit HIV to your partner if you already have the infection.

Risk of infection following gynecological surgery. If you have bacterial vaginosis, you run a higher risk of getting an infection following surgery such as a hysterectomy or dilation and curettage (D&C).

Inflamed vulvar tissue (PID). PID, an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes that can raise the risk of infertility, is occasionally brought on by bacterial vaginosis.


To aid in bacterial vaginosis prevention:

Reduce vaginal irritability. Use unscented tampons or pads and gentle, nondeodorant washes.

Avoid douching. Only a regular bath is necessary to clean your vagina. Douching often throws off the vaginal balance and might make you more susceptible to vaginal infections. A vaginal infection cannot be cured by douching.

Steer clear of sexually transmitted diseases. Reduce your chance of contracting an STD by using a male latex condom, limiting the number of partners you have sex with, or refraining from sexual activity.

Keep anything that has contacted your anus out of contact with your vagina. Sex toys and toilet paper both have the potential to spread germs from your feces to your vagina. After each usage, be sure to thoroughly clean sexual toys.

Use dental dams or latex condoms. Research suggests that sexual activity is linked to BV, however, it's unclear why.

Wear underwear made of cotton or cotton-lined. Bacteria flourish in damp conditions. Cotton aids in wicking sweat away.

Difference between a yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Both yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV) cause increased vaginal discharge. Here's how to distinguish between them.

Discharge. A "fishy"-smelling discharge is the defining feature of BV. Although the discharge from yeast infections seldom smells strong, it sometimes resembles cottage cheese.

Vaginal itching. BV often doesn't cause vaginal itchiness or irritation. It's yeast infections.

Nonprescription medicine. Using over-the-counter drugs may cure yeast infections. In order to acquire antibiotics for BV, you must visit your doctor.


During the inspection, your doctor takes a sample of fluids from your vagina. The fluid is examined under a microscope, tested in-office, or sent to a lab for examination by healthcare professionals.

It may be identified by a medical practitioner based on the patient's statement of symptoms and a physical examination.

They could obtain a little sample of vaginal discharge during the examination and send it off for testing. To determine how acidic the vagina is, the doctor may also take a pH reading.

The doctor may request some diagnostic tests if a patient has sexual activity and appears to be infected with an STI. These could entail collecting sample cells from the vaginal wall using a swab or a tiny plastic loop.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) cures itself without treatment in one-third of cases. However, you should visit a doctor if you experience any symptoms. Being BV-positive increases your risk of STIs and may interfere with getting pregnant.

Antibiotics, often metronidazole or clindamycin, will be recommended by your doctor. You inject the gel or cream form of these drugs into your vagina. Additionally, they come in oral tablet form.

To treat bacterial vaginosis, there are no over-the-counter medications available (BV). Do not use douches or items intended to treat yeast infections because they might exacerbate BV. For treatment, see a healthcare professional.

Sometimes BV gets better on its own. However, the signs and symptoms might be mistaken for other illnesses like trichomoniasis or gonorrhea. Furthermore, untreated BV can cause difficulties, particularly when a woman is pregnant.

For these reasons, obtaining a professional diagnosis is essential to ensuring the efficacy of treatment.

Additionally, some forms of abortion or hysterectomy issues may be more likely to occur if BV is present. Some medical professionals advise treating BV in everyone who has these operations, whether or not they exhibit BV symptoms.

Male partners typically don't need to be treated. On the other hand, BV can spread from a guy to several female sexual partners.

The frequent ailment known as BV is brought on by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina. Experts are unsure of the exact reason for this imbalance. However, other behaviors, including using feminine hygiene products and having intercourse with a new partner or numerous partners, seem to raise the risk. Untreated BV can lead to difficulties, some of which are related to fertility and pregnancy, and increase the risk of STIs. The signs of BV might sometimes resemble other medical conditions that require distinct therapies. For these reasons, before attempting a cure or solution, anybody experiencing BV symptoms should speak with a healthcare provider. The frequent ailment known as BV is brought on by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina.

Previous Post Next Post