Bacterial infections

BV (Bacterial Vaginosis)

What is it?

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a common infection that does not usually cause any vaginal soreness or itching, but it often causes unusual vaginal discharge. Women with BV may notice that their discharge may:

  • develop a strong fishy smell, particularly after sexual intercourse
  • become a white or grey colour
  • become thin and watery

There are also a number of other factors that can increase the risk of developing BV, including using scented soaps or bubble baths, having an intrauterine device (IUD) fitted and using vaginal deodorant. BV is more common in women who use a coil for contraception and those who perform vaginal douching (cleaning out the vagina).

Treatment

BV can usually be successfully treated using a short course of antibiotic tablets or an antibiotic gel that you apply inside your vagina. BV is not serious for the vast majority of women, although it may be a concern if symptoms of BV develop in pregnancy.

It is common for BV to recur and more than half of women successfully treated with BV will find their symptoms return, usually within three months. Women who experience repeated episodes of BV in a short space of time may need a referral for further investigation and treatment.

Women with BV may be able to pass the condition to other women they have sex with.