Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection. The number of new cases and current number of infected individuals is unknown.

What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis?

The symptom of bacterial vaginosis is a white or grayish vaginal discharge with an unpleasant, fishy odor. Women with bacterial vaginosis may also have burning during urination or itching around the outside of the vagina, or both. However, some women with bacterial vaginosis report no signs or symptoms at all.

Can bacterial vaginosis lead to other problems?

Although most cases of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) are caused by Gonorrhea or Chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis can lead to PID. involves a severe infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries which may lead to infertility, tubal pregnancies, and chronic pelvic pain. Bacterial vaginosis also makes you more susceptible to HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

Pregnant women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to have babies who are born prematurely or with low birth weight.

How is bacterial vaginosis transmitted?

Bacterial vaginosis is not transmitted from one person to another like most STDs, but it is associated with having vaginal intercourse.  Women who have a new sex partner or who have had multiple sex partners are more likely to develop bacterial vaginosis.

How is bacterial vaginosis diagnosed?

Bacterial vaginosis is diagnosed by your health care provider through a pelvic exam. The vaginal fluid is tested for an increase in harmful bacteria.

How is bacterial vaginosis treated?

Bacterial vaginosis may be treated and cured with antibiotics administered orally or through a vaginal cream or gel.

Can bacterial vaginosis be prevented?

Bacterial vaginosis can occur in women who have never had sexual intercourse, but it is rare. The best way to prevent bacterial vaginosis is to refrain from sexual contact of any kind, or be in a long-term monogamous relationship such as marriage.

Last Updated: 01/2014

Compiled using information from the following sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov

Danforth’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Ninth Ed. Scott, James R., et al, Ch. 32.