Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a common but often misunderstood condition which occurs when there is an imbalance in the natural bacteria of the vagina. BV will not cause any discomfort or itching but it will cause unusual vaginal discharge. The discharge may:
- Become white in colour or grey
- Develop a strong fishy odour particularly after sexual intercourse
- Become thin and watery
The causes of BV are not fully understood, however there are ways of preventing BV developing such as avoid using scented soaps/washes and antiseptic bathing liquids, vaginal deodorants, douching and strong washing detergent on underwear.
BV is nothing to be embarrassed about it and in fact it is estimated that 1/3 women will experience it in their life time. What’s more, BV is not usually a problem for the vast majority of women as although it can be unpleasant there are not severe health implications.
It may be of concern if you develop BV during pregnancy, particularly if you have a history of pregnancy-related complications. You should visit your GP or GUM clinic if you notice any abnormal discharge particularly if you are pregnant. This will ensure that any problems are dealt with and further complications are avoided.
If you notice a change in your discharge or notice an abnormal smell it is always best to visit your GP for advice and reassurance.