Bacterial Vaginosis

Authored by Dr Mary Harding, 30 Sep 2014

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Hannah Gronow, 30 Sep 2014

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an overgrowth of normal germs (bacteria) in the vagina, causing a characteristic smelly discharge.

Having a discharge from your vagina can be embarrassing. However, it's a very common symptom, and most of the time it doesn't mean you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). In women of menstruating age, bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of a vaginal discharge.

Normally, we have a healthy and harmonious mix of germs (bacteria) in our bodies. In bacterial vaginosis (BV), the balance gets upset, and one type of bacteria in the vagina (called anaerobic bacteria) multiplies, whilst another type (called lactobacilli) dies off. This messes with the normal acid balance in the vagina. So generally speaking, you don't "catch" BV.

Further reading and references

I thought I had BV for 3 years. I’m 23 years old now and have suffered. In the beginning I was having sex with a guy who wasn’t very hygenic. That being said, I think that had a lot to do with the...

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