What you should know
What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
- We can’t know for sure what causes the balance of “good” and “harmful” bacteria to shift. However, smoking, douching, and having multiple sexual partners can place women at higher risk of getting BV.
- Although BV is not considered a sexually-transmitted infection, it is more common in women who are sexually active.
- BV may be transferred between female sex partners.
- Thin vaginal discharge that is white or grey.
- A “fishy” smell, which may be worse after having sex.
- Some women may not notice any symptoms.
- While BV can’t be completely prevented, you can reduce your risk by avoiding smoking and douching, and limiting your number of sexual partners.
- A health care provider will ask you some questions about your medical history, then perform a pelvic exam and take a sample of the vaginal discharge. The sample will then be tested.
- While BV can sometimes go away on its own, it’s a good idea to see a health care provider if you are experiencing symptoms.
- A health care provider will prescribe antibiotic pills, cream, or ovules (a type of pill that gets put into the vagina) to treat BV. Symptoms will usually go away within 2-3 days, but it is important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by your health care provider.
- Having BV can increase your chances of catching other STIs.
- Having BV in pregnancy can increase your risk of pregnancy-related complications, including early labour and miscarriage.
- Having BV when undergoing a pelvic surgery (e.g. C-section, abortion) can increase your risk of infection.