Do I have symptoms of BV or an STI?
With discharge typically being the only symptom of bacterial vaginosis, it can be difficult to tell whether you have BV or a different infection. If you have not had unprotected sex recently, your discharge may be caused by bacterial vaginosis. If you have had unprotected sex with one or more than one partner, you should get tested for STIs to check whether you have been infected.
If you prefer a more private way to test you can order an STI test kit from Superdrug.
I have a rash. Could this be BV?
Bacterial vaginosis does not cause a rash or lesions. If you notice a rash or bumps, you should visit a GUM clinic to get checked for STIs. Lesions may be a sign of genital herpes, while bumps could be caused by genital warts. Whatever your symptoms, it is important that you get them checked.
Bacterial vaginosis also doesn't cause bleeding. If you are experiencing any unexplained vaginal bleeding you need to visit a doctor without delay.
Can BV cause complications?
Bacterial vaginosis is a benign condition but it can cause complications during pregnancy. Women who experience BV symptoms during pregnancy have been found to have a slightly higher risk of premature birth and miscarriage. Bacterial vaginosis is also associated with a higher risk of other infections of the womb when symptoms are present during pregnancy. The risk of developing complications is very small but you should still see your doctor without delay if you notice symptoms during your pregnancy.
What should I do if I notice bacterial vaginosis symptoms?
Although the symptoms of BV often go away on their own you should consider getting treated if you notice discharge. Before you can get treated, a doctor will need to assess whether you are suffering from BV or whether you could be infected with a sexually transmitted disease which causes similar symptoms. You can use our confidential and discreet online assessment to order BV treatment. You will fill in a medical questionnaire when you place your order, so that our doctor can diagnose your condition.
It is particularly important that you seek medical attention if you develop BV during pregnancy. You should visit your GP or gynaecologist if you are pregnant and suffering from BV.
Common Myths About BV
Myth: Bacterial vaginosis is an STI.
Truth: BV is not an STI, it just causes similar symptoms. The bacteria which cause it naturally exist in your vagina and BV occurs, when they multiply too quickly.
Myth: You do not need to get treated if you have BV.
Truth: Many women have BV without experiencing symptoms. In these cases, the infection clears by itself. However, you should get treated if you have symptoms. It is also important for pregnant women to get treated if they develop BV during pregnancy.
Myth: Bacterial vaginosis causes a rash.
Truth: Bacterial vaginosis does not usually cause any symptoms other than a discharge, which may be smelly. If you have a rash, you are most likely suffering from a different condition.
Myth: If you have bacterial vaginosis, you have symptoms.
Truth: BV can be caused by various different types of bacteria which naturally occur in the vagina. It is often symptomless.