What are the Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection caused by an imbalance of the bacteria normally present in the vagina. The condition can produce various symptoms, although some individuals with BV may not experience any noticeable symptoms. Common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:

  1. Vaginal Discharge: An increase in vaginal discharge is a primary symptom of BV. The discharge may be thin, watery, and white or gray in color. It often has a fishy odor, which may become more noticeable after sexual intercourse or during menstruation.
  2. Vaginal Odor: The characteristic “fishy” odor can be one of the most recognizable symptoms of BV. It is usually more prominent after sexual activity or during menstruation.
  3. Vaginal Itching or Irritation: Some women may experience vaginal itching or irritation, although this symptom is less common.
  4. Burning Sensation During Urination: BV can occasionally cause discomfort or a burning sensation when urinating.

It’s important to note that many women with bacterial vaginosis may not have any symptoms, and the infection may be detected during routine gynecological exams or screenings. BV is not typically associated with abdominal pain, fever, or other systemic symptoms.

The exact cause of bacterial vaginosis is not fully understood, but it is often related to a shift in the balance of bacteria in the vaginal flora. Risk factors for BV can include multiple sexual partners, douching, and the use of certain feminine hygiene products. BV is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), although it can be more common in sexually active women.

Treatment for bacterial vaginosis usually involves antibiotic therapy, typically with oral or vaginal antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider. It’s important to complete the full course of treatment even if symptoms improve, as incomplete treatment can lead to recurrence of BV. If you suspect you have bacterial vaginosis or experience any of the symptoms described, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.