Our vaginas, while absolutely beautiful in every sense of the word, can sometimes do some things we aren’t so fond of such as itch or produce a funky odor. Before you go running to your nearest drug store to pick up some OTC yeast infection meds, you should be aware of another condition which can very easily go under the radar.
BV, or Bacterial Vaginosis, has no known or certain causes (yet), although some doctors believe it could be transmitted sexually. While that may be one of its causes, there have been women with zero sexual contact who have acquired BV. Basically, for whatever reason, our vagina’s bacterial balance gets out of whack, and suddenly, there’s this odor and/or discharge that seems like it could be a yeast infection. Since I personally had never had a yeast infection in my life, I had no idea what on earth was going on. When I googled symptoms, BV and a yeast infection were somewhat similar.
Some women who have BV may not show any symptoms, so it’s important to make sure you are going to your gynecologist regularly, either every six months or once a year, depending on what you have set up with your doc.
Those with BV who do show symptoms may experience the following:
- Vaginal discharge that may be white or gray in color
- Discharge with a strong, foul odor
- Vaginal odor that is particularly strong, with a fishy smell after sex
- Vaginal itching
- Painful or burning urination
The symptoms are not too different from a yeast infection, however, a yeast infection would produce a cottage-cheese-like discharge, with a yeasty odor. BV, on the other hand, has a strong, fishy odor as mentioned above.
So what do you do? GO SEE YOUR GYNO! If left untreated, BV can lead to complications such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other scary things like being put at a greater risk of contracting HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
BV is detected by a simple swab test and treated with a simple round of antibiotics.
You can do your best to prevent developing BV by wearing cotton panties, wiping from front to back, using a PH-balanced feminine wash on your vagina and anus every day, and using condoms during intercourse.