Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common cause of unusual vaginal discharge. BV is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can increase your risk of getting an STI such as chlamydia.
Bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms may include:
- Thin, grey, white or green vaginal discharge.
- Foul-smelling "fishy" vaginal odour.
- Vaginal itching.
- Burning during urination.
What causes bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is caused by a change in the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina.
What causes this to happen is not fully known, but you're more likely to get it if:
- you're sexually active (but women who have not had sex can also get BV)
- you have had a change of partner
- you have an IUD (contraception device)
- you use perfumed products in or around your vagina
BV is not an STI, even though it can be triggered by sex. A woman can pass it to another woman during sex. You're more likely to get an STI if you have BV. This may be because BV makes your vagina less acidic and reduces your natural defences against infection.
The condition is not usually serious, but you may need to be treated with antibiotics if you do have BV.
Things you can do yourself
To help relieve symptoms and prevent bacterial vaginosis returning:
- use water and plain soap to wash your genital area
- have showers instead of baths
- do not use perfumed soaps, bubble bath, shampoo or shower gel in the bath
- do not use vaginal deodorants, washes or douches
- do not put antiseptic liquids in the bath
- do not use strong detergents to wash your underwear
- do not smoke
Here at tingle® we have a range of products that can diagnose BV as well as providing some relief from symptoms.