Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a type of vaginal infection. The vagina normally contains both healthy bacteria and unhealthy bacteria. BV occurs when more unhealthy bacteria grow than healthy bacteria.
No one knows exactly what causes this to occur. BV is a common problem that can affect women and girls of all ages.
Symptoms of BV include:
You also may not have any symptoms.
Your health care provider may do a pelvic exam to diagnose BV. Do not use tampons or have sex 24 hours before you see your doctor.
If you have BV, your health care provider may prescribe:
Be sure you use the medicine exactly as prescribed and follow the instructions on the label. Drinking alcohol with some medicines may upset your stomach, give you strong stomach cramps, or make you sick. Do not skip a day or stop taking any medicine early, because the infection may come back.
You cannot spread BV to a male partner. But if you have a female partner, it is possible it can spread to her. She may need to be treated for BV, as well.
To help ease vaginal irritation:
You can help prevent bacterial vaginosis by:
Call your health care provider if:
Nonspecific vaginitis - aftercare
Eckert L, Lentz G. Infections of the lower and upper genital tracts: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, endometritis, and salpingitis. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology, 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012: chap. 23.
Edwards L. Vaginitis. In: Black M, Ambros-Rudolph CM, Edwards L, et al. Obstetric and Gynecologic Dermatology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008: chap. 24.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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