Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal condition developed by an overgrowth of normal vaginal bacteria and is characterized by a white or greyish-white vaginal discharge that can often produce a foul odor. BV is a fairly common condition, affecting approximately 29% of women in the US. BV can be often misdiagnosed as a yeast infection, as the symptoms are very similar.
BV can be caused by an increase in anaerobic bacteria, which is a bacterium that grows in the absence of oxygen. That being said, being treated for BV is not as simple as removing the excess bacteria. Other possible causes for BV include having multiple or new sexual partners, recent antibiotic use, cigarette smoking and vaginal douching. More often than not BV can be treated with antibiotics and diagnosed with a series of tests preformed by your doctor. Many BV cases are resolved on their own without treatment, while in other cases symptoms can return in as little as 12 months after being treated with antibiotics, at which time more antibiotics are prescribed. Women with BV are at increased risk of contracting HIV and various STDs including genital herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Pregnant women with BV are at increased risk of amniotic fluid infection, infection of the uterus and/or pelvic organs (pelvic inflammatory disease) after delivery and giving birth prematurely. Pelvic inflammatory disease and BV, if left untreated, can lead to infertility. This is because bacteria can infect and inflame the fallopian tubes causing normal tissues to become scarred or blocked, hindering the egg from travelling through its normal passage.