Bacterial Vaginosis

Sometimes called Trick, (although this is a different disease.)

Women with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) may have an abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor. Some women report a strong fish-like odor, especially after intercourse. Discharge is usually white or gray and can be watery. Women with BV may also have burning during urination or itching around the outside of the vagina, or both. However, most women with BV report no signs or symptoms at all.

BV is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the name of a condition in women where the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is changed and replaced other bacteria. Basically, the vagina always has good bacteria and some bad. With BV, the bad take over.

We don't know much about how women get BV. Any woman can get BV, even without sexual contact. Some activities or behaviors can upset the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina and put women at increased risk including having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners or douching.

You do not get BV from toilet seats, bedding, swimming pools, or from touching objects around them.

Any woman can get BV, even without having sex. And, there are some serious risks from BV including:
  • Having BV can increase a woman's susceptibility to HIV infection if she is exposed to the HIV virus and increases the chances that an HIV-infected woman can pass HIV to her sex partner.
  • BV can increase the risk for other STDs, like herpes simplex virus (HSV), chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
  • Sometimes, BV may happen after surgery, such as a hysterectomy or an abortion. Bacterial Vaginosis con't
  • Having BV while pregnant may put a woman at increased risk for some complications of pregnancy, such as preterm delivery.

BV is not completely understood and the best ways to prevent it are unknown. However, it is known that BV is associated with having a new sex partner or having multiple sex partners.

The following basic prevention steps can help reduce the risk of upsetting the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina and developing BV:
  • Be abstinent.
  • Limit the number of sex partners.
  • Do not douche.
  • Use all of the medicine prescribed for treatment of BV, even if the signs and symptoms go away.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drug use may also help prevent onset of BV because these activities may lead to risky sexual behavior. It is important that sex partners talk to each other about their HIV status and history of other STDs so that preventive action can be taken.

Although BV will sometimes clear up without treatment, all women with symptoms of BV should be treated to avoid complications. Treatment is especially important for pregnant women. Male partners generally do not need to be treated. However, BV may spread between female sex partners. BV is treatable with antibiotics prescribed by a health care provider. BV can recur after treatment.


Last Updated On October, 29, 2012