Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common condition that can be caused by an imbalance between the “good” and “harmful” bacteria that are normally found in a woman’s vagina. It’s the most common type of vaginal infection in women ages 15 to 44. Bacterial vaginosis is surprisingly prevalent among pregnant women: Up to 19 percent of expectant mothers in the United States have BV.
Signs and Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
Some women with bacterial vaginosis don’t have any symptoms. Others have symptoms that may include:
- A thin white, dull gray, or greenish vaginal discharge
- A strong, foul (often fishy) odor, especially after sex
- Vaginal itching or irritation
- A burning sensation during urination
Causes and Risk Factors of Bacterial Vaginosis
BV happens when there’s an imbalance between good (healthy) and bad (disease-causing) bacteria in the vagina.
How Is Bacterial Vaginosis Diagnosed?
Prognosis for Bacterial Vaginosis
Duration of Bacterial Vaginosis
Treatment and Medication Options for Bacterial Vaginosis
Women with symptoms of BV should be treated for the infection, not only to relieve symptoms but also to prevent complications.
Recommended medication treatment options include:
- Metronidazole (Flagyl), 500 milligrams (mg), orally twice a day for seven days
- Metronidazole gel (MetroCream), 0.75 percent, one full applicator inserted vaginally, once a day for five days
- Clindamycin cream (Cleocin T), 2 percent, one full applicator inserted vaginally at bedtime for seven days
- Tinidazole (Tindamax), 2 grams (g), orally once a day for two days
- Tinidazole, 1 g, orally once a day for five days
- Clindamycin (Cleocin Hcl), 300 mg, orally twice a day for seven days
- Clindamycin ovules (Cleocin), 100 mg, inserted vaginally at bedtime for three days
Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis
Complications of Bacterial Vaginosis
If left untreated, BV can increase your risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV.