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Bacterial Vaginosis

Written by Iyanuoluwa Falomo

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

In this article, you will learn what Bacterial Vaginosis is, what it’s not, the causes, symptoms, prevention, complications, and treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis.

What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there’s an overload of harmful bacteria in the vagina. It is when the harmful bacteria is more than the good bacteria. This overload puts off the pH balance of the vagina and causes irritation and pain in and around the vagina.

Bacterial Vaginosis occurs in women of childbearing age (13–44), and mostly in those who are sexually active. This is to say that the chances of a sexually inactive person getting Bacterial infection is low.

Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis

Truth be told, the exact cause of Bacterial Vaginosis is unknown, but there are a few facts that support that it has to do with unhealthy sexual habits. As said above, it is most common among sexually active women.

The spread of bacteria among individuals through sexual intercourse may alter the natural balance of bacterial flora within the vagina, and this imbalance appears to lead to the development of bacterial vaginosis.

Other probable factors that alter the balance of bacteria in the vagina include;

  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • New sexual partner
  • Not using condoms
  • Douching
  • Sharing sex toys
  • Recent use of antibiotics.
  • Using feminine hygiene products
  • Scented soaps
  • Smoking

Bacterial Vaginosis can NOT be spread through;

  • Toilet seats
  • Sharing beddings
  • Swimming pools

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

The symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis include:

  • Pain and irritation in and around the vagina.
  • Burning sensation in and around the vagina, and when urinating
  • Foul-smelling odor, usually described as a fishy smell, which is more pronounced after sexual intercourse.
  • Changes in vaginal discharge which may be thin and white or gray.

Prevention of Bacterial Vaginosis

To reduce the risk of getting Bacterial Vaginosis, it is important to do the following:

  • Use condoms the correct way
  • Practice safe sex
  • Stop douching
  • Avoid overuse of antibiotics
  • Avoid the use of feminine hygiene products such as vaginal deodorants, scented soaps, etc., inside the vagina.

Testing and Treatment of BV

When visiting a health care professional, you would be asked about your sexual history to diagnose correctly. Pelvic examinations would be done, and swabs would be taken from around the vagina for testing.

Drugs that can be administered after testing and diagnosis include antibiotic medications, Metronidazole which can be oral, a single dose, or gel. These are just two amongst others.

It is important that you tell your partner if you have Bacterial vaginosis, especially if you have a female partner. Chances are that she also has Bacterial Vaginosis, and she needs to get treatment.

Make sure to complete all medications and abstain from sex for the period of use.

How long does Bacterial Vaginosis last?

Treatments usually last for 7 days. Although, some people may require another round of treatment.

Health Complications

Bacterial Vaginosis can lead to other issues in the body.

Although Bacterial Vaginosis may resolve on its own without treatment, it is risky not to treat it. Not treating Bacterial Vaginosis exposes you to other health complications.

Health complications that may arise from not treating Bacterial Vaginosis include:

  • Increased risk of contracting STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia
  • Increased risk of contracting HIV
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease : this is an infection of the reproductive organs that occurs in women, that often leads to infertility.


Bacterial Vaginosis is an imbalance between the good bacteria and the harmful bacteria in the vagina.

Although the cause is not known, there are a few pointers that increase the risk of imbalance of bacteria in the vagina.

It is important to treat it because not treating it leads to more health complications which is dangerous. Make sure to visit a health care professional to get treated.

Take note of the Pointers and act accordingly.

Iyanuoluwa Falomo falls into the category of people they call Gen-Z. she is writer and an aspiring Tech Sis. She loves to read books, and she is a sucker for good music. Connect with Iyanuoluwa on Instagram and Twitter.

Edited by Oluwatobiloba Ganiyu

Female, Editor, Medical student, ambivert, goofball, Christian. Always interested in learning new things. Connect with Oluwatobiloba on Instagram.

Published by Yetunde Onafuye

Yetunde is a storyteller, podcaster, and a graduate student with interest in the social and political history of post-independence Africa. She’s also the co-lead editor at Sisterly HQ. In her free time, she reads and reviews books, engages in social volunteering, and watches tons of dramas and TV shows. Connect with Yetunde on LinkedIn and Instagram.



Sisterly HQ is a digital female-focused and female-led publication that tells the stories of Nigerian women and connects them to opportunities and resources for their social, political, financial, and personal growth

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Sisterly HQ is a digital female-focused and female-led publication that tells the stories of Nigerian women.