Bacterial Vaginosis-(BV)

What is BV?

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial infection of the vagina. This happens when the “bad” bacteria outnumber the “good” bacteria. We are unsure why this happens but it can be very uncomfortable. BV is often not thought of as an STD, but may occur from having frequent intercourse due to the change in bacteria in the vagina. BV is not an issue for males.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Strong, fishy odor from the vaginal area
  • White or grayish vaginal discharge
  • Watery or foamy vaginal discharge
  • Itching in or around the vagina
  • Pain with urination
  • Some females have no symptoms at all


BV will sometimes go away on its own but often will need to be treated with antibiotics. There is no over-the-counter (OTC) medications available for treatment. Sometimes females may feel that they have a “yeast” infection and try OTC yeast medications but realize that their symptoms did not improve. When one has these symptoms, it is recommended to call and schedule an appointment in the Women’s Health Clinic at Student Health Services for a pelvic exam with a provider for further testing to determine if it is BV.


  • Abstinence from ALL sexual activity (Oral, vaginal, anal) is the only 100% way to prevent an STD. STD’s are spread by contact of skin, blood or body fluids.
  • Condom usage during all sexual encounters for the entire duration of genital contact will reduce the spread of a STD. Condoms are available for men and women as well as dental dams for oral sex.
  • Refrain from using drugs and/or alcohol in sexual situations.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse
  • Limit sexual partners
  • Avoid douching