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When you notice a change in your vaginal discharge, it can be quite uncomfortable or worrying, especially if it comes with a funky smell. While some vaginal discharges are just changes in your cycle, other changes in your vaginal discharge can indicate that you have bacterial vaginosis.
What is bacterial vaginosis?
Commonly mistaken as a sexually transmitted disease, bacterial vaginosis is in fact a vaginal infection caused by bacteria. However, it can increase your chances of getting an STD. It is one of the top reasons why reproductive-age women might be experiencing a change in vaginal discharge. This happens because too much of a certain bacteria is found in the vagina, which affects the PH balance of the vagina and can cause issues.
Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis
You’ll be surprised to hear that around 50-75% of women can have BV and are unaware of it. However, there are a few signs that can help you identify bacterial vaginosis:
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- A thin white or gray vaginal discharge
- Pain, itching, or burning in the vagina (less common symptom)
- Fish-like vaginal discharge odor, especially after sex
- Bleeding after sex
- Burning when peeing
- Itching around the outside of the vagin
How can I avoid getting bacterial vaginosis?
While there isn’t enough research to understand why women get bacterial vaginosis, there are a few factors that increase your risk of getting it. In order to prevent getting bacterial vaginosis, you can:
- Avoid having sex
- Keep your sexual activities with one person
- Avoid douching (cleaning your vagina with soap or other liquids) as it can alter the PH balance of your vagina
- Do not use any strong odors near your vagina or underwear
- Use condoms when having sex
Treatment for bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is curable and treatable. You’ll need to speak to your doctor and they will provide an antibiotic gel or tablet to help treat your bacteria.
- How to Make Your Vagina Smell Good
- What Does the Colour of Your Vaginal Discharge Mean?
- How to Smell Good All Summer
Sources used in this article:
- Bacterial vaginosis – Cleveland Clinic
- Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC
- Bacterial Vaginosis – NHS
- What is bacterial vaginosis – Medical News Today