Bacterial Vaginosis

This is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. Although approximately 50% of infected women are asymptomatic, some experience fishy, foul-smelling discharge. It is unclear what mechanism causes the imbalance in bacteria, however some factors have been identified: having sex with a new partner, using vaginal deodorants, using scented soaps and smoking. It can be treated with antibiotics, known as Metronidazole.

The woman’s partner does not need treatment. Men can occasionally develop balanitis with bacteria similar to those found with BV but this does not appear to be sexually related.

Although BV is not an SAI, it is related to sexual health, and is correlated to lower coitarche (age of first sexual intercourse), new sexual partners, having multiple partners, female to female intercourse, and chlamydia. Women with an IUD are also more likely to develop BV, therefore they should consider alternate contraception. BV also significantly increases the chances of contracting HIV by 2-5 folds. BV is prone to re-occur.

BV is associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery. It is not recommended that pregnant women are treated, however if symptomatic, treatment is possible.