Bacteria vaginosis

BV (Bacteria vaginosis) is an infection that results from an imbalance of the normal vaginal flora

This includes both ‘good’ and ‘harmful’ bacteria commonly found in the vagina. The bacteria commonly involved in BV are very diverse but majority involves Gardnerella vaginalis.

BV is the most common cause of vulvovaginitis (infection or inflammation of the vulva and vagina) in women. Up to 30% of women will experience BV at some point in their life.

BV is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but having BV can increase your chances of getting an STI.

Risk factors for BV:

New sex partner or multiple sex partners



Recent antibiotic use

Having an intrauterine device (IUD)

Women who have sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

*No clear evidence of sexual transmission.

Symptoms of BV:

Many women with BV do not have symptoms.

If you do have symptoms, they could include:

–          Off white/gray vaginal discharge

–          Vaginal odour, including strong fish like odour, especially after sex

–          Pain, itching or burning around the outside or in the vagina (less common)

–          Pain passing urine (rare)

–          Pain during sex (rare)


BV will sometimes resolves without treatment.

In general, women without any symptoms of BV but who are found to have Gardnerella vaginalis colonization do not need treatment. Also, male sex partners of women diagnosed with BV do not need treatment.

Treatment is usually initiated in women with symptoms and also especially important in pregnant ladies (with or without symptoms) as it is linked with having premature babies and babies with low birth weight.

Treatment with antibiotics either orally or vaginally is highly effective in treating BV. The use of probiotics as prophylaxis or treatment of BV remains controversial but the risk of harm is minimal.

Treatment of BV may also reduce the risk of contracting other STIs such as Chlamydia and gonorrhoea, which can sometimes cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), causing subfertility.

As with all infections, BV can recur even after treatment. So, if you start having symptoms even after treatment, it is advisable to see your doctor for advice as you could have a recurrent infection or a STI.

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  1. Hi Dr,

    Do I run the risk of getting TSS if I used the same panty liner for about 38-40 hours and in between I also had sex (showered after sex)?

  2. I’ve found myself bleeding after sex a few times. On top of that, I sometimes experience heavy off white/brown (right after period ends) discharge. Is this normal?

    • drtan

      It is not normal. Bleeding after sex can be due to very sinister problems like Cervical Cancer/Pre-Cancer or Womb Cancer. Obviously most of the time it is due to more benign causes like Cervical Polyps or abrasions in the vagina. However, you should see a Doctor to exclude the sinister causes first. If you would like to see a Lady Doctor, you can visit our Women’s Health Center at Bencoolen. Click HERE for location info.

  3. I think I have a yeast infection, but wondering if it could be a sti or std. I have white chunky discharge, and around my vulva (inside as well) and around my urethra, the skin is white and lumpy (like the discharge but does not wipe off unless scraped off). It resembles the texture of the tongue (like swollen papillae) and just rough looking, but not like warts (not the type that im seeing online anyways). It does itch at times and burns when I pee (not much). I wore tight yoga workout pants (first time wearing them and they are mainly polyester) two days, just not while sleeping plus bathing, in a row while doing major house cleaning, that is why I am considering yeast infection. I need to go in to the doctor, but my insurance isn’t the best and wondering if I can try to treat it myself first or at least get some insight on what I’m in for.

  4. I just started taking antibiotics for a sickness that I have, but recently I shaved my vagina and I can’t tell whether it’s because of one of those or another causing factor. My symptoms are itchy, burning vagina, more towards the opening. Today I had a discharge that was clear, a really light brown and slightly pink which has never happened ever. I’ve never had sex so it’s not sexually transmitted. Im scared

    • You are very right to have pointed out that these 2 activities can be the cause of your symptoms. When women take antibiotics, it can affect the balance of the vaginal micro-environment. This can cause either fungus or bacteria to overgrow and cause your symptoms. The shaving can cause your hair follicles to become inflamed or even infected. THis can also cause ithcing and burning. However this should not cause a discharge. You can try taking pro-biotics and using an antifungal cream first. However, if these symptoms continue, please see your doctor.

  5. Poohpooh

    Hi I have been having diacharge since pri sch and I am 24 now. How do i cure it? It is milky white with white flacks.. but when its dry on the panty liner it is green. What is it?

    • Could be bacterial vaginosis but more likely it is a normal discharge. I really don’t think you need to cure it because it really does not sound like a disease. Why don’t you try feminine friendly washes and taking more pro-biotics to see if that helps.

      • Poohpooh

        Hi Thanks for the reply… but recently the discharge is getting heavier… I went to search online.. its seem like thrush? Can that be cured?

  6. Whattodo

    I hav a smelly odour. Cant tell whether its fishy or what. But my discharges on white underwear is green yellowish sometimes brown. I m unsure of what i have, bv or yeast infection. how much will it cause to have it tested n treated? Thankss

    • Since you only mention yeast and BV I am assuming you are not sexually active. If you are, you will also have to screen for other STDs. Please send us an email using the contact form on the right. I will get one of our lady doctors to give you more detailed information.

  7. I have brown smelly discharge, what is it?
    And How much will it usually cost to have bv or yeast treated?

  8. Nancie


    I get BV quite often and also have PCOS. I treat it with metrogel from my doctor. Can BV also cause irregular bleeding as well?

    • Hi, BV on it’s own does not cause irregular bleeding. Your irregular bleeding is most likely due to PCOS.

      • Nancie

        Thank you. I appreciate the response. Do you know what would cause period like bleeding after intercourse? My doctor can find no cause, but I am obese and have worried that she may have missed something. She feels it is hormonal but I feel it is more of a mechanical nature because it has happened twice in the past year after intercourse. One time I bled immediately following intercourse and bled for 2 MONTHS with clots and everything. They still could not find anything on exam or ultrasound although like I said I worry they might miss something because of having an obese stomach area. Thank you for your thoughts doctor!!

  9. and can you please advice me on what to do to cure it totally

  10. hy.I’m 21 yrs ..have this for over 10 always comes back after treatment .its dusnt itch nor smell just whitish.what are the chances of it not affecting my womb..thank you

    • Hi Pamela, BV can be recurrent in some women and certain risk factors such as taking antibiotics, having a new partner, etc can cause you to have recurrent BV.
      Chances of BV affecting the womb (I assume you are worried about PID – pelvic inflammatory disease) is low if you have had it treated.
      Antibiotics are highly effective in curing BV. However, BV can be recurrent even after treatment, so reducing the risks and also some lifestyle changes can help in reducing the recurrence of BV.


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