DefinitionBacterial vaginosis is an infection of the vulva and vagina. It is associated with an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina.
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CausesA mix of good and bad bacteria are normally found in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an increase in the amount of bad bacteria. The increased bad bacteria causes a decrease in good bacteria. This imbalance can lead to symptoms.It is not clear exactly what causes the increase in bad bacteria.
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your chance of bacterial vaginosis include:
- Antibiotic use
- Having a new sexual partner or multiple partners
- Having sex without a condom
- Using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control
SymptomsSome women with bacterial vaginosis do not have any symptoms.Symptoms that can develop include:
- Itching around the vagina
- Vaginal irritation
- Burning feeling while urinating
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Color: white or gray
- Consistency: thin, foamy, or watery
- Odor: fish-like, especially after sex
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Fluid from your vagina may be tested to look for specific bacteria or other infectious agents.
TreatmentBacterial vaginosis can lead to complications such as an increased risk of:
- Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV , gonorrhea , or chlamydia
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Premature birth
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