Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) vs.Trich (Trichomoniasis) Differences and Similarities

What Are Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and Trich (Trichomoniasis)?

Picture of bacteria under a microscope.
Picture of bacteria under a microscope.
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an abnormal condition that results from an overgrowth of atypical bacteria in the vagina.
  • BV is not a true bacterial infection, but rather an imbalance of the normal bacteria in the vagina. 
  • Trichomoniasis or Trich, is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis.
  • Bacterial vaginosis is a condition of the vagina, so only females are affected.
  • Both men and women can become infected with Trich.
  • Both BV and Trich can cause abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • Burning or pain with urination or sexual intercourse are seen with Trichomoniasis and are not common with BV, but may occur occasionally.

What Signs and Symptoms of BV and Trich Infections Are Different and Similar?

Symptoms and Signs of BV Infections

  • Bacterial vaginosis, in addition to an abnormal amount of vaginal discharge, produces symptoms including an unpleasant odor to the discharge. The discharge is grayish-white in color and may be worse after sexual intercourse.
  • Less commonly, pain or discomfort with urination or during sexual intercourse may be present.

Symptoms and Signs of Trich Infections in Men and Women

  • Trichomoniasis may not cause any symptoms and can infect both men and women. 
  • When it does produce symptoms, these are typically 
    • a greenish, frothy vaginal or urethral (in men) discharge, 
    • itching in the genital area, 
    • burning with urination, and 
    • discomfort during sex.

Are BV or Trich Infections Contagious?

How Do BV and Trich Infections Spread?

  • Trich infections are spread through sexual contact and is therefore contagious.
  • BV is not generally considered to be contagious, although there are suggestions that it may pass between female sex partners.
  • BV is not considered to be contagious, although there is a possibility that it may spread among female sex partners.
  • Trich infection is spread through genital touching or any kind of sexual activity.

Are BV or Trich Infections STDs?

What Causes BV vs. Trich and How Are They Diagnosed?

Causes of BV vs. Trich

  • Trichomonaisis or Trich, is caused by a parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis that is spread by sexual contact.
  • Bacterial vaginosis is caused by a disruption in growth and balance of the normal vaginal bacteria.
  • Although the exact reason BV occurs is not fully understood, it is more likely to develop when certain risk factors are present including
    • vaginal douching,
    • IUDs,
    • having multiple sex partners,
    • antibiotic use, and
    • cigarette smoking.

What Procedures and Tests Diagnose Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Trich Infections?

Examination of a sample of discharge under a microscope can distinguish BV from other conditions such as trichomoniasis and other STDs.

What Are Treatments and Cures for BV vs. Trich?

Home Remedies to Treat Bacterial Vaginosis vs. Trich Symptoms

  • There are no home remedies that can cure either BV or Trichomonas infections.
  • Studies of probiotics including yogurt/lactobacilli preparations (either taken orally or applied to the vagina), have not shown consistent results in treating BV.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicine and Antibiotics to Treat BV vs. Trich Infections

  • There are no over-the-counter medicines available to cure either BV or Trichomoniasis.
  • Prescription antibiotics are required in both BV and Trich.

Although some cases of BV resolve over time, antibiotic treatment is recommended.

Length of Tim it Takes to Cure BV and Trich Infections

Both BV and Trich may be cured in a short time with appropriate antibiotics. However, it is important to take the full course of antibiotics even if symptoms go away.


The vagina includes the labia, clitoris, and uterus. See Answer

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J. Larry Jameson, et al. Harrison's Principles of Medicine. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing Published: July 23rd 2018; Edition: 20.