According to the Mayo Clinic and The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, risk factors for developing bacterial vaginosis include:
- Being sexually active
- Douching, which can upset the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina
- Having multiple sex partners
- Having a new sex partner
- A vaginal environment that doesn’t produce enough lactobacilli bacteria
- Pregnancy—somewhere around 25% of pregnant women get bacterial vaginosis due to hormonal changes
- Being African American—Bacterial vaginosis is twice as common among African-American women as it is in white women.
1. BV is Not an STD
Although BV and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) share similar-like symptoms, BV is not the same. Keep in mind that a woman does not need to be sexually active to get BV including oral or anal sex.
2. Most Women Show No Symptoms
According to the CDC, 84% of women reported no symptoms of BV. Common symptoms of women BV includes thin white or gray discharge, vaginal fish-like odor (especially after sex), and burning and/or itching in the vagina.
3. BV May Lead to Other Health Risks
Because BV is quite common in women and can easily be treated, BV may result in other health risks if not properly cared for. If BV is left untreated, this can lead to higher risks consequences of HIV infections, STDs (herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia), loss of pregnancy, preterm birth, and even pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). When in doubt, check it out with your doctor.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.