Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)


Vaginitis, vaginosis, Gardnerella vaginalis


Various bacteria, such as Gardnerella vaginalis, Prevotella species, Mobiluncus species, and A. vaginae.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that happens when there is too much of a certain bacteria in the vagina, changing the normal balance. It is common in sexually active people. We do not know how sex causes BV, but we do know it most often occurs in those who are sexually active.


Symptoms can include a thin white or gray vaginal discharge; pain, itching, or burning in the vagina; burning with urination; and a strong fish-like odor, especially after sex. There may be no symptoms.


It is diagnosed by testing a sample of vaginal fluid to determine if BV is present.


BV is treated with prescription antibiotic pills or vaginal creams.


You can lower your risk of getting BV by:

  • not having sex,
  • limiting your number of sex partners,
  • not douching, and
  • using condoms every time you have sex.

Do not use nonprescription products such as yeast medicine. Treating a sex partner has not been shown to prevent a recurrence of BV.


BV during pregnancy can cause premature birth and low birth weight.

BV can increase your chances of getting human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases.

DSHS Publication Number 13-11887