Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Sally who developed a very unfortunate problem. Although Sally had only had one sexual partner, she began to experience some discomfort “down there.” She noticed a discharge, along with persistent itching and an unusual odor. Sally and her partner had not been using any form of protection when having sex, but they were faithful to one another. She was very worried that she might have contracted some type of sexually transmitted disease, and immediately contacted her doctor. After a quick exam, her doctor declared Sally’s problem to be bacterial Vaginosis (BV). Sally now needed to learn more about this new-to-her issue. She began her education by reading more here. . .
What is Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal inflammation due to overgrowth of one of several different types of bacteria normally present in the vagina. The overgrowth affects the normal balance of the vaginal bacteria. The most commonly affected women are in their reproductive years. Doctors are uncertain of the exact cause of BV but believe it could be caused by unprotected sex or frequent douching. You do not have to be sexually active to be affected by BV.
Symptoms of BV
Symptoms of BV include a vaginal discharge that is thin and grayish white in color. A foul or “fishy” odor may be experienced, especially after sexual intercourse. Women may also experience vaginal itching or burning with urination. However, some women may not experience any symptoms at all.
What to do if you have BV?
It is important to see a doctor if you have never had a vaginal infection before, or if you had had a vaginal infection previously but the symptoms seem different to you. If you have tried an over-the-counter yeast infection medication and the symptoms persist, develop a fever, or have a very unpleasant vaginal odor, it would be best to be evaluated by a physician. Also, if you have had multiple sexual partners or a recent new partner, it would be important to be evaluated as BV symptoms are very similar to many Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI).
Can BV lead to other complications?
The risk factors for BV include having multiple sex partners, women having sex with other women, douching or a natural lack of the “good” lactobacilli bacteria in the vagina. The complications from BV are most likely not to occur. However, under certain conditions, BV may lead to preterm birth, infection risk following gynecological surgery such as a dilation & curettage (D & C) or hysterectomy, being more susceptible to STI or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
If you or someone you know suspects that you might have BV, it might help to discuss your symptoms, concerns and options in a confidential and helpful setting with someone who has answers.
Feel free to contacts us at 913.962.0200 to speak with someone who can help you determine your next steps. Our staff is compassionate, knowledgeable and can offer the support and direction that you need.
To read more about BV, visit mayoclinic.org. The above information was taken from this site.