Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is an infection of the vagina caused by bacteria. Normally, there are a lot of “good” bacteria and some “bad” bacteria in the vagina. The good types help control the growth of the bad types. In women with bacterial vaginosis, the balance is upset. There are not enough good bacteria and too many bad bacteria.

Many women with BV do not have symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may notice a thin white or gray vaginal discharge, odor, pain, itching, or burning in the vagina. Some women have a strong fish-like odor, especially after sex. You may also have burning when urinating; itching around the outside of the vagina, or both.

Left untreated, BV can increase your chance of getting other STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. These bacteria also may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can make it difficult or impossible for you to have children.