Bacterial Vaginosis 101: Definition, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Bacterial Vaginosis

What is bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis also known as “BV” is a common vaginal infection that occurs due to an overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina. Bacteria and other microorganisms make up the vaginal microbiota or microbiome. When the balance of the microbiota is disturbed, it can make the vagina more prone to infections such as bacterial vaginosis. 

What causes bacterial vaginosis?

The exact cause of bacterial vaginosis is not known, but researchers have found a link between bacterial imbalance and BV. Douching or using harsh intimate hygiene products can kill the “good” bacteria in the vagina, leading to a disruption of the microbiome. Additionally, those who are sexually active are more likely to develop BV, as sexual contact often introduces new types of bacteria in the vagina. Using barrier methods such as condoms during sex can reduce your chance of BV. 

Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and cannot be spread from person to person. However, having bacterial vaginosis can increase your chance of developing other infections, including STDs. Normally, the healthy bacteria in your vagina help fend off infections. People with BV are likely to have a bacterial imbalance, leading to compromised immune function of the vaginal microbiome. 


Not everyone with BV will experience the same symptoms; in fact, some people may even be asymptomatic. However, some common signs to watch out for include:

  • Gray or green-ish vaginal discharge.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal odor, sometimes described as a “fishy” smell. This odor may be particularly strong after sex or during your period.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Itching and/or soreness around the vulva and vagina.

What do I do if I think I have bacterial vaginosis?

Having bacterial vaginosis can be uncomfortable, but it is nothing to be ashamed of. If you suspect you have BV or experience any abnormal symptoms, you can book a teleconsultation with our physicians at any time. During your teleconsultation, your doctor will be able to guide you through your next steps. Best of all, we’ll send any medication you are prescribed to your doorstep within 4hrs, so that you can always be at ease about your health.

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