Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
Unusual intimate odour and discharge? It could be Bacterial Vaginosis or BV.
While you might have heard a lot of people talking about thrush, bacterial vaginosis is actually the most common cause of abnormal vaginal discharge among women of reproductive age. If you are a woman and between 15 and 45 years of age, you are in the group that’s most at risk of bacterial vaginosis (or BV in short). BV is the most common cause of vaginal infections, and fortunately can be easily treated.
A healthy vagina is normally acidic, which helps prevent bad bacteria from growing and maintains the level of good bacteria called lactobacillus. If the pH balance becomes less acidic however, this can affect the health of your vagina. Different factors can affect the pH balance of your vagina, including getting your period, taking antibiotics, over-washing, using an IUD (intrauterine device) and semen if you have sex without condoms. The imbalance of your pH can be accompanied by overgrowth of anaerobic organisms that replace normal lactobacilli, causing BV.
BV can increase your risk of getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, although BV itself is not an STI. While you can still have sex if you have BV, you should also be careful as some treatments like creams and antibiotics can affect contraception. Sometimes, BV can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, which can increase the risk of infertility.