Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection contracted by women of childbearing age, so it is important to know the common signs of bacterial vaginosis. BV is a condition in which the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and is replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria. The following are the two main signs:

Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis #1: Excessive vaginal discharge

If you are infected, your vaginal discharge will change to a thin vaginal discharge that is white or gray in color. The vaginal part can excrete a very abundant secretion or only a small stain that wets the underwear.

Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis #2: Unpleasant vaginal odor

Commonly, vaginal discharge has a bad odor. In a few cases the discharge is odorless, but there are times when it can be noticeable, especially after having sex or doing heavy work.

Are there other signs of bacterial vaginosis?

Some people with BV may also experience itching, pain, or other discomfort. However, those symptoms are not always present when the infection occurs.

Just having excessive vaginal discharge without a burning or itching sensation can actually make your doctor suspect you have BV. Itching and discomfort mostly occur in another type of infection, such as yeast infection.

If it’s not BV, what else could it be?

There are several vaginal health problems that have similar symptoms with BV, those are:

1. Yeast Infection (Candidiasis)

Another type of vaginal infection is yeast infection. Candida albicans is the type of fungus most commonly responsible for this infection, resulting in a vaginal discharge that is usually thick and whitish with a consistency similar to that of cottage cheese. A burning sensation, itching and pain during sexual intercourse are also characteristic symptoms of a fungal vaginitis. Candidiasis can also grow too large and cause infections in women with suppressed immune function. Fungal infections are best treated with antifungal medications.

2. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a small organism called trichomonas vaginalis. Symptoms in women may include: frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor, vaginal itching and irritation, discomfort during intercourse, and pain in the lower abdomen.

Other sexually transmitted diseases that can cause vaginal discharge include: chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Because BV is one of the most common vaginal infections, having the two most common signs of bacterial vaginosis alone could indicate that you have BV rather than other vaginal infections. To determine the actual type of infection, it is best to visit your doctor for proper examination.


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