Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an imbalance of the usual bacteria found in a woman's vagina. It causes an abnormal vaginal discharge which can smell fishy and unpleasant.

While BV is not sexually transmitted, it is more common among people who are sexually active. Other factors that contribute to BV include smoking and using certain hygiene products.

Tests and treatment

BV can be detected by taking a high vaginal swab. BV can appear and disappear without any reason, and around half of all women with BV do not have any symptoms.

If there are no symptoms, treatment is not necessary. Where there are symptoms, antibiotics may be recommended.

Tests and treatment

Treatment is effective in most of BV cases, although it is quite common for it to reoccur.

Pregnant women with BV may also be at increased risk of developing complications, such as a preterm birth (when a baby is born before the 37th week of the pregnancy).