Everything you need to know about bacterial vaginosis

To prevent BV, start by limiting your risk factors. Use condoms, don’t douche and keep soap away from your vulva and vagina. Don’t use any products with scents or perfumes in that area, and limit your bubble baths. Photo: Pexels

(Catriona Harvey-Jenner/ Cosmopolitan) –– At some point in their lives, most women and people with vaginas will have encountered some kind of vaginal discomfort (be it itching or atypical discharge), but not everyone is clued up about what could be the cause.

Although plenty of us know about vaginal issues like thrush and cystitis, the same can’t be said for bacterial vaginosis – also known as BV – and many of us only learn about the condition after we’ve Googled the symptoms we’ve experienced.

So, what actually is bacterial vaginosis? What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis? What causes bacterial vaginosis? And what treatment is available for it? To find out, we consulted with Anna Druet, a researcher at period-tracking app Clue – meaning you can consider yourself an expert (ish) when you’ve finished reading…

Bacterial vaginosis (or BV) happens when the normal balance of vaginal bacteria is disrupted, being replaced by more bacteria that doesn’t need oxygen to grow. The most common type of BV-causing bacteria is called Gardnerella (not to be confused with the STI gonorrhea, just in case you were panicking), which creates different byproducts and causes environmental changes in your vagina, leading to the unpleasant symptoms listed below. (…)