Smiling young woman with red hair, wearing a green shirt, happy after Canesten bacterial vaginosis treatment

What is bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Learn what bacterial vaginosis is, its main symptoms, how to treat & prevent it. Find out what the differences between thrush and BV are. In this article, you can also find advice on how to treat BV effectively and how to stop it from recurring.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

BV can be a very unpleasant condition that prevents you from living your life to the full. BV is a common condition and can be easily treated. It can affects up to 1 in 3 women of childbearing age. BV is a vaginal infection caused by bacteria rather than by yeast (which is the case for thrush) and occurs when there is an imbalance of the microflora in your vagina.   

Normally your vagina is acidic, which stops bad bacteria from overgrowing and helps maintain a healthy level of good bacteria. However, sometimes the conditions in your vagina can change. It can become less acidic, which leads to the growth of bad bacteria causing bacterial vaginosis.

You are more likely to get BV if: 

  • You are sexually active (but women who have not had sex can also get BV), 

  • You have changed your partner, 

  • You have an IUD (a contraception device), 

  • You use perfumed products in and around your vagina.

Bacterial Vaginosis symptoms

Getting bacterial vaginosis might be worrying because the symptoms are not pleasant: you will notice a fishy, unpleasant smell and/or greyish, watery discharge in your vagina. Those symptoms can worsen after having sex. You should also know that some women who have BV might not experience any symptoms at all. 

So, what’s the difference between thrush and BV? 

Women often mistake bacterial vaginosis for thrush, but these are two different infections and they should be treated differently. The symptoms of thrush are: soreness and itchiness around your vagina, cottage cheese like discharge that’s odorless and burning sensation when passing urine. Bacterial vaginosis causes a fishy, unpleasant odour and greyish watery discharge. BV should not cause you soreness or itchiness in your vagina. 

The different symptoms can help you identify which condition you may have. If you are still unsure, you can use Canestest, the simple home test measuring the pH level of your vagina with over 90% of accuracy. Combining the results from the test and your symptoms you can determine whether you might have BV, and then you can start bacterial vaginosis symptom treatment if needed. 

When to see a doctor 

You should consider seeing a doctor if you have bacterial vaginosis for the first time or if you are pregnant. Pregnant women can be more susceptible to vaginal infections because of the hormonal changes that can upset the balance in their vagina. If you develop bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy, there is a small chance of complications, including premature birth or miscarriage. However, in the majority of pregnancies BV causes no problems, You should see your doctor if you are unsure or when in doubt.

Still Unsure About Your Symptoms?


By clicking this link you will leave the Canesten website and enter the Ada symptom assessment tool.

This AI-powered symptom checker can help match possible conditions with your symptoms. Simply answer a few symptom-related questions and receive a personal symptom assessment report.



How to treat Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis can be easily treated with an internal gel.

Canesbalance starts working immediately to relive the unpleasant intimate odour and its clinically proven to treat the symptoms of BV effectively. It contains triple benefit formula that will help you treat your bacterial vaginosis symptoms effectively. Canesbalance is a 7-day course of treatment, available in a vaginal gel format that:

  • Provides immediate odour relief,

  • Relieves greyish, watery discharge, 

  • Hampers the growth of bad bacteria that cause the infection and, 

  • Encourages the growth of good bacteria.

Canesfresh Gentle Refreshing Mousse

How to prevent BV

There are steps you can take to prevent BV. Your intimate area is more delicate that the rest of the body so you shouldn’t use the same soaps or shower gels because they can upset the pH balance in your vagina. Canesfresh Daily Foaming Wash has been specifically designed to protect your intimate area and maintain your pH balance. It is also recommended to take showers instead of baths. 

Other things you can do to stop BV from recurring:

  • Don’t use deodorants or perfumed products in and around your vaginal area.

  • Don’t over-wash.

  • Don’t douche inside your vagina.

  • Don’t use strong detergents to wash your underwear.

  • Change tampons and pads frequently.

  • Ensure you wipe from front to back when going to the toilet.


Change your underwear after swimming or working out. 

If you regularly suffer from thrush or bacterial vaginosis, you can consider using Canesflor Probiotics for Vaginal Use. This convenient vaginal capsule contains probiotics so called lactobacilli or the good bacteria. Canesflor helps to restore the natural pH level of your vagina’s microflora and can prevent the reoccurrence of the infection.