In the Know

Bacterial Vaginosis

What is bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Bacterial vaginosis is not an STI. It is an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. It happens when too much of certain bacteria change the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina.

What are the symptoms?

Many women with vaginosis do not have symptoms. Some may notice white or gray vaginal discharge, fishy odor, pain, itching, or burning in the vagina.

How do I get tested?

Vaginal swab.

How do I get treated?

Antibiotics. It can come back even after treatment.

What if I don’t treat it?

If you are sexually active, vaginosis may increase your chance of getting infected, if exposed to STIs, or cause premature birth if pregnant.

How can I prevent it?

Limit your number of sex partners. Do not use vaginal douches. Use latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condoms every time you have sex. Abstinence is the only way to prevent it 100%.

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