Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the name of a condition in women where the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria. It is sometimes accompanied by discharge, odor, pain, itching, or burning.
How common is bacterial vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. In the United States, BV is common in pregnant women.
How do people get bacterial vaginosis?
•Having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners
What are the signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis?
In most cases, BV causes no complications. But there are some serious risks from BV including:
How does bacterial vaginosis affect a pregnant woman and her baby?
How is bacterial vaginosis diagnosed?
A health care provider must examine the vagina for signs of BV and perform laboratory tests on a sample of vaginal fluid to look for bacteria associated with BV.
What is the treatment for bacterial vaginosis?
STDs & PregnancyAlthough BV will sometimes clear up without treatment, all women with symptoms of BV should be treated to avoid complications. Male partners generally do not need to be treated. However, BV may spread between female sex partners.
Treatment is especially important for pregnant women. All pregnant women who have ever had a premature delivery or low birth weight baby should be considered for a BV examination, regardless of symptoms, and should be treated if they have BV. All pregnant women who have symptoms of BV should be checked and treated.
Some physicians recommend that all women undergoing a hysterectomy or abortion be treated for BV prior to the procedure, regardless of symptoms, to reduce their risk of developing an infection.
BV can recur after treatment.
How can bacterial vaginosis be prevented?
BV is not completely understood by scientists, and the best ways to prevent it are unknown. However, it is known that BV is associated with having a new sex partner or having multiple sex partners.
The following basic prevention steps can help reduce the risk of upsetting the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina and developing BV:
•Limit the number of sex partners.
•Do not douche.
•Use all of the medicine prescribed for treatment of BV, even if the signs and symptoms go away.
All STD Fact SheetsWhere can I get more information?
Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention