School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a condition in women where the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria. While the causes of BV remain unknown, having multiple sex partners, douching and IUD devices increase the risk of developing BV. Despite what you might have heard, you do not catch BV from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools.

Some signs of BV may include white or gray vaginal discharge, a strong fish-like odor, burning during urination, and itching around the outside of the vagina. However, some women have no signs at all.

In most cases, BV doesn’t cause any long-term problems but infection does increase your risk of getting other sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor can test for BV during a vaginal exam and it is treatable with antibiotics. But make sure to finish all of your medication that the doctor gives you, even if the symptoms go away.

Ways To Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis:

  • Limit sex partners.
  • Do not douche.