Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance.
Women in their reproductive years are most likely to get bacterial vaginosis, but it can affect women of any age. The cause isn't completely understood, but certain activities, such as unprotected sex or frequent douching, increase your risk.
Bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms may include:
- Thin, gray, white or green vaginal discharge
- Foul-smelling "fishy" vaginal odor
- Vaginal itching
- Burning during urination
Many women with bacterial vaginosis have no signs or symptoms.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor if:
- You have vaginal discharge that's new and associated with an odor or fever. Your doctor can help determine the cause and identify signs and symptoms.
- You've had vaginal infections before, but the color and consistency of your discharge seems different this time.
- You have multiple sex partners or a recent new partner. Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection are similar to those of bacterial vaginosis.
- You try self-treatment for a yeast infection with an over-the-counter treatment and your symptoms persist.