©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Symptoms and Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Cure

Doctor's Notes on Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Cure

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that affects the vagina, caused by an overgrowth of atypical bacteria in the vagina. It does not represent a true bacterial infection but rather an imbalance of the bacteria that are normally present in the vagina. There are many different types of bacteria involved in bacterial vaginosis. It is not considered to be a sexually-transmitted disease like bacterial infections such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia.

Bacterial vaginosis does not always produce characteristic symptoms or signs. When symptoms do occur, they can include an abnormal vaginal discharge that is thin and gray-white in color. Associated symptoms can also include a foul-smelling vaginal odor. The discharge and odor are often more noticeable after sexual intercourse.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.