What is bacterial vaginosis?
Any woman can get bacterial vaginosis. Having bacterial vaginosis can increase your chance of getting an STD.
How is bacterial vaginosis spread?
- We do not know about the cause of BV or how some women get it. BV is linked to an imbalance of “good” and “harmful” bacteria that are normally found in a woman's vagina.
- We do know that having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners and douching can upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina and put women at increased risk for getting BV.
- However, we do not know how sex contributes to BV. BV is not considered an STD, but having BV can increase your chances of getting an STD. BV may also affect women who have never had sex.
- You cannot get BV from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools.
How can I avoid getting bacterial vaginosis?
- Not having sex;
- Limiting your number of sex partners; and
- Not douching.
I’m pregnant. How does bacterial vaginosis affect my baby?
How do I know if I have bacterial vaginosis?
Can bacterial vaginosis be cured?
- BV will sometimes go away without treatment. But if you have symptoms of BV you should be checked and treated. It is important that you take all of the medicine prescribed to you, even if your symptoms go away. Treatment may also reduce the risk for STDs.
- Male sex partners of women diagnosed with BV generally do not need to be treated. However, BV may be transferred between female sex partners.
What happens if I don't get treated?
- Increasing your chance of getting HIV if you have sex with someone who is infected with HIV;
- If you are HIV positive, increasing your chance of passing HIV to your sex partner;
- Making it more likely that you will deliver your baby too early if you have BV while pregnant;
- Increasing your chance of getting other STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. These bacteria can sometimes cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can make it difficult or impossible for you to have children.