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Bacterial Vaginosis

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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition in which there is an overgrowth of some kinds of bacteria in the vagina. BV can cause symptoms such as vaginal discharge. BV is common in women of childbearing age (15 – 44 years).




Get the Facts

Symptoms

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Most women with BV report no signs or symptoms at all. Those with symptoms may experience an abnormal white or gray vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, burning during urination and/or itching around the outside of the vagina.

CDC information on Bacterial Vaginosis symptoms

Who

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BV is common among women of childbearing age. Any woman can get BV, but women are at higher risk for BV if they have a new sex partner, multiple sex partners, use an intrauterine device (IUD), and/or douche.

CDC information on who is affected by Bacterial Vaginosis

Testing

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A health care provider must examine you and take a sample of vaginal fluid to determine if you have BV.

CDC information on testing for Bacterial Vaginosis

Transmission/Prevention

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BV is not completely understood by scientists, and the best ways to prevent it are unknown. However, it is known that BV is associated with having a new sex partner or having multiple sex partners. Some ways to reduce the risk of BV is to not have sex, limit the number of sex partners, and not douche.

CDC information on transmission and prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis

Treatment

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BV can be treated and cured with antibiotics. Male sex partners generally do not need to be treated, but BV may spread between female sex partners.

CDC information on Bacterial Vaginosis treatment

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