What is bacterial vaginosis?

BV stands for “bacterial vaginosis” and occurs when there is a proliferation of bacteria that changes the environment of the vagina. Lactobacilli are bacteria that reside in the vagina and can be considered the “good” kind of bacteria due to their role in maintaining the appropriate acidic pH of the vagina. BV occurs when there is an overgrowth of bacteria that is usually suppressed by the presence of the “good” bacteria (Lactobacilli). Symptoms of BV include: foul smelling discharge (often described as a “fishy” odor) that is thin, white or gray in appearance. Sometimes women may have itching, light spotting, irritation, and burning after intercourse. If you suspect you have BV, it is important to not self medicate and see your provider so they can treat you with the appropriate antibiotic. Self medication (such as douching or over the counter remedies) may further alter the vaginal environment and make the problem worse. The first-line treatment for BV is a 7-day course of oral antibiotics or a 5-day course of nightly intravaginal suppositories. Daily probiotics are also recommended for women with recurrent vaginosis to restore natural vaginal flora and prevent future infections.

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