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Bacterial Vaginosis - Vaginal Infection 

Introduction
Bacterial vaginosis is a common type of vaginal infection.  It results when there is an imbalance and overgrowth of the natural organisms within the vagina.  Bacterial vaginosis may produce a foul smelling vaginal discharge.  It is usually treated with over-the-counter or prescription medication.

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Anatomy
The healthy vagina contains a normal balance of microorganisms, including the bacteria that causes bacterial vaginosis.

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Causes
Bacterial vaginosis is a common type of vaginal infection.  It is caused by an imbalance and overgrowth of the natural organisms in the vagina.  It is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, but it may be spread between sexual partners.

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Symptoms
Bacterial vaginosis may cause grayish-white vaginal discharge.  The discharge may have a foul smell, similar to fish.  You may experience vaginal irritation or itching.  Many women with bacterial vaginosis do not notice symptoms.

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Diagnosis
Your doctor can diagnose bacterial vaginosis by reviewing your medical history and conducting a pelvic examination.  You doctor will test your vaginal discharge to confirm the diagnosis. 

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Treatment
Bacterial vaginosis is treated with medication.  Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medication.  Your doctor may prescribe medication in the form of pills, vaginal gel, or vaginal cream. 

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Prevention
You may prevent bacterial vaginosis by not douching.  If you use an IUD and experience recurrent bacterial vaginosis, you may have your IUD removed.

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Am I at Risk
Bacterial vaginosis is common in pregnant women.  Women with multiple sex partners have a higher risk for bacterial vaginosis.  Douching or using an intrauterine device (IUD) increases the risk as well.

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Complications
In pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis has been linked to premature delivery and low birth weight babies.  Pregnant women should contact their doctor if they suspect they have a vaginal infection.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.