Public Health Fact Sheet
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is one of the most common vaginal infections.
How is Bacterial Vaginosis spread?
BV occurs when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted. You are more likely to get BV if you have a new sex partner or multiple sex partners, douche, or use an IUD (intrauterine device) for birth control.
How is Bacterial Vaginosis treated?
- BV is treated with a course of antibiotics.
- Antibiotic treatment is especially important for pregnant women.
- Male partners do not need to be treated.
It is very important that you:
- take all medicines as prescribed even if you start to feel better.
- inform your health care provider if you think that you may be pregnant before taking any medications.
- stop all sexual activity until treatment is completed.
How can we prevent Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Limit your number of sexual partners. The more people you have sex with, the greater the chance of getting an STD.
- If you choose to have sex, be prepared. Have condoms with a water-based lubricant on hand and use a new condom every time you have sex.
- Do not douche.
- Have regular exams if you are sexually active. Having BV can increase your chances of getting an STD.
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
- Unpleasant vaginal odor
- Abnormal discharge from the vagina
- Usually a white or gray color