What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Also known as BV, this condition is the result of an imbalance of bacteria that is always present in the vagina. Whilst these bacteria are a vital part of keeping the vagina healthy, an increase in the levels of bacteria can lead to an unusual vaginal discharge that may smell unpleasant.

Whilst the condition may seem embarrassing and often leaves women feeling isolated, the problem is very common, affecting around 10-30% of women in the UK.


Treatment Options

If you have been diagnosed, you should first avoid all the triggers listed in the next paragraph.

In addition, seek an antibiotic medication that can help your body to fight the infection. Usually, Metronidazole tablets can be prescribed to be taken over a period of seven days, although some women find that Clindamycin cream inserted into the vagina can also help to clear the symptoms at speed.

How do you get It?

but it does occur more often in women who are sexually active. Usually, the vagina produces lactic acids that help to regulate bacteria, but in the case of BV, the vagina does not produce enough of these acids. This is what results in the imbalance of vaginal bacteria.

In addition, BV is more common in black women. The explanation for this is as yet unknown.

Some factors that can increase the risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis include:

  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • A new sexual partner
  • Smoking
  • Using strongly scented bath and shower products
  • Using vaginal deodorants
  • Using strong washing powers to clean underwear
  • Using an intrauterine contraceptive device


The main symptom is an abnormal vaginal discharge, which can be watery and thin and whitish or greyish in colour. This discharge is usually characterised by a distinctive smell, often described as โ€˜fishyโ€™, that worsens after sexual intercourse.

These symptoms can be very upsetting and damaging to your confidence, but there are treatments available that can help you to remedy the problem.