ASK DR NOVOA – I occasionally have this bad vaginal smell and discharge. I clean myself and am always self-conscience since I always think I have it. My Primary Care doctor said its BV. What is BV?

BV, represents Bacterial Vaginosis and is cause by a variety of bacteria in the vagina. What happens is that your vagina has a natural balance of bacteria and yeast. When there is a balance, the discharge is white or clear in color, has no smell and produces no discomfort. When you have too much bacteria, the discharge can be heavy yellow or greenish in color, can have a strong fishy or foul smell and can cause the area to be red, itchy and tender to the touch. When you have too much yeast, the discharge is heavy, white in color, have the consistency of cottage cheese, has no bad smell and may produce an itch.

Although not considered a sexually transmitted disease, BV can occur or worsen by having sex with a partner who has a heavy amount of natural bacteria themselves, especially uncircumsized men.

The treatment is usually easy. If it is the most common bacteria, Lactobacillus, your doctor may recommend either Flagyl or Cleocin.

You should never try to treat BV as if it is a yeast infection because it will make things worse.

BV can recur and if its does, you should ALWAYS see your GYN first because there are over 20 different organisms that can mimic BV. A simple culture test can identify the source of the infection and you can start to feel better after about 3 days with different medications.

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Filed under Blog, Gynecology, Questions of the Day

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