Gynaecology Gold Coast
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  • Gynaecology | Health
  • 29.05.23

What is bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common condition that affects many women, yet it’s not often discussed. At Grace Private, our GPs and gynaecologists get asked many questions about BV, so we thought we’d share some important facts about this condition. 

What is bacterial vaginosis?

Vaginas have a balance of good bacteria (lactobacilli) and bad bacteria. When this natural balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted, it can lead to bacterial vaginosis. 

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

There are three main symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, which include: 

  • Itchy and burning in the vagina.
  • Vaginal discharge that is thin, watery, or greyish in colour.
  • A foul, fishy odour that may be more prevalent after sex.

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What causes bacterial vaginosis

The cause of bacterial vaginosis is not fully known, but there are a few factors that increase the risk of developing this condition. They include:

  • Multiple sexual partners.
  • Vaginal douches or sprays.
  • Perfumed soaps, bubble baths, shampoo or shower gel.
  • Strong washing powders/detergents.
  • IUDs.
  • Smoking.

How is bacterial vaginosis diagnosed?

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you may have bacterial vaginosis. However, many other conditions that could cause the same symptoms. The best way to diagnose bacterial vaginosis is to see your gynaecologist who will examine your pelvis and take a sample of your vaginal discharge to test the bacteria. 


In most cases, your antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial vaginosis. They can come in the form of an oral antibiotic or as a cream or gel to be applied directly to the vagina. To successfully treat bacterial vaginosis it’s vital to finish the course of antibiotics, even if symptoms start to ease before you have completed the whole dose. 

How to prevent bacterial vaginosis

There are a few easy ways you can reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis, including: 

  • Practise safe sex by using condoms.
  • Avoid using vaginal douches and sprays.
  • Use water or mild soap when cleaning your vagina, instead of perfumed products.
  • Wear loose-fitting, cotton underwear.
  • Quit smoking. 

When should you see a gynaecologist or GP for bacterial vaginosis

You should make an appointment with your gynaecologist or GP as soon as you experience any of the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. The sooner you receive a diagnosis and start treatment, the more comfortable you will feel.

If you are experiencing any other symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever or heavy bleeding, it could be a sign of a more serious problem and you should seek immediate medical assistance. 

Get the help you need at Grace Private

At Grace Private, our experienced Gold Coast gynaecologists and GPs are highly-trained and can help you get prompt diagnosis and treatment for bacterial vaginosis. If you believe you may have bacterial vaginosis, schedule an appointment with a Grace specialist as soon as possible. 

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  • Gynaecology, Health