Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Symptoms
What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis, or “BV,” is a medical condition that occurs when there’s an imbalance of “good” and “harmful” bacteria in the vagina. This causes a disturbance in the pH levels of the vagina making the inside less acidic than it normally is. While BV can affect people of any age, it most commonly occurs during reproductive years.
“Some women with BV don’t know they have it because they don't properly identify their symptoms. Due to inflamation, having BV can increase your chance of getting an STD while sexually active.” - Center for Disease Control, CDC.GOV
BV on its own does not present much of a health risk and it can usually be cleared up quickly with medications for BV. It does have the potential to lead to more serious issues if an infection occurs while pregnant, such as increasing the risk of premature births or low birth weight. Additionally, if no BV treatment is sought, the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease can increase, as well as increased risk of contracting an STD, like HIV or Gonorrhea, due to inflammation.
Quick Facts About BV
- BV is extremely uncommon among people who’ve never had sex
- BV cannot be transmitted by contact with bedding, toilet seats, or swimming pools
- Douching can increase the likelihood of BV
- People can still be affected by BV (18.8%) even if they have not recently engaged in vaginal, oral, or anal sex
- It is also very common among pregnant individuals (25%) and those who have been pregnant (31.7%)
- Acquiring BV is often correlated with an increase in number of sexual partners
Symptoms Of BV
- Burning during urination
- Vaginal itching
- Foul-smelling “fishy” vaginal odor
- Thin vaginal discharge that can be gray, white, or green in color
What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Recent antibiotic use
- IUDs (intrauterine devices) for birth control
- Vaginal douching
- Multiple or new sex partners: while you can still get BV without having sex, it is more common in sexually active women
- Cigarette smoking
- Heavy periods
- Hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
- The use of bubble bath
- Use of boric acid suppositories (they help maintain a healthy pH!)
- Use of condoms
- Taking showers, instead of baths
- Use of the combined oral contraceptive pill
How Is Bacterial Vaginosis Diagnosed?
What Medications for Bacterial Vaginosis Are Available?
- Doctor-prescribed antibiotics (tablets or gel) used to treat bacterial vaginosisStarting at $15/month
Reproductive ProbioticsAn over-the-counter beneficial bacteria supplement to counter antibioticsStarting at $10/month
Boric AcidAn over-the-counter vaginal suppository custom made in our pharmacy to help prevent & relieve bacterial & yeast infectionsStarting at $9/month