There are lots of bacteria in the vagina. Some of these bacteria are healthy and useful to the body; others are not. Generally, the ‘good’ bacteria in the vagina help keep the ‘bad’ bacteria in check.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) occurs when somethings disrupts the balance between these two categories of bacteria. Researchers are unsure what exactly triggers this imbalance. Studies suggest that douching and having multiple sex partners increases a person’s risk of developing BV. However, even women who are sexually inactive can get BV.
The most common symptom of BV is vaginal discharge. This discharge may smell poorly; it can look grayish or yellow. Such discharges may also occur from a sexually transmitted infection (STI), so ask a doctor to check them out.
Generally, bacterial vaginosis is a mild condition. Most cases go away within a few days. However, if it persists longer, BV can cause more serious complications, including:
- For pregnant women, it increases risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery and uterine infection
- It increases risk of pelvic infection after a cesarean section, an abortion or a hysterectomy
- If you are exposed to an STI when you have BV, you are at higher risk of catching it.
If your BV does not seem to be going away, it would be best to speak to a physician.
Do you have bacterial vaginosis (BV)? See if you qualify for Segal Institute’s clinical research study on BV today!