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Bacterial Vaginosis (B.V.)

Bacterial Vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of some of the many types of bacteria found in a healthy vagina. As these bacteria flourish, the pH (acid level) drops and symptoms become noticeable.


This condition is not believed to be sexually transmitted, but it is more common in sexually active women.

Signs and Symptoms

Women usually develop a gray, watery vaginal discharge, often with a musty or fishy odor.  The discharge may cause vaginal itching and burning. Sexual intercourse makes the symptoms worse. Some women do not have any symptoms. Men do not develop B.V.


An exam will include a vaginal exam. Further lab work to rule out sexually transmitted infections should be done, if a woman has been sexually active. Testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomonas can be done at the exam; usually a simple swab of the cervix is obtained and sent to a lab. Results take approximately a week. Tests for B.V. can be completed in the office.


Treatment consists of either oral antibiotics or an antibiotic vaginal preparation.  It is very important to report any medication you might be taking  (especially if for a seizure disorder) due to possible drug interactions with this medication. Partner treatment, both male and female, is not necessary.

Patient Education:

  1. Some vaginal medications contain mineral oil, which will weaken the latex in condoms. If you have sex, use the medication after you have sex.

If you are prescribed the oral medication, do not drink any alcohol during, and for 24 hours after, treatment. You will become very nauseated and likely vomit if you do. Minor side effects from the oral medication may include dizziness and a metallic taste.