What is bacterial vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease but occurs when organisms normally present in the vagina overgrow. One of these organisms is called Gardnerella. Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an imbalance of the normal vaginal environment.
What are the symptoms?
Mainly an unpleasant vaginal odour and sometimes an increase in vaginal discharge. Symptoms can be more obvious after sex or during menstrual periods.
How is it diagnosed?
By checking swabs from the vagina.
How is it treated?
Some women have evidence of bacterial vaginosis, but no symptoms, in which case usually no treatment is required. Other women do have symptoms and may choose to have treatment with a course of appropriate antibiotic tablets.
Should my partner be checked or treated?
Bacterial vaginosis in not usually sexual transmitted, so your partner doesn't need to be checked or treated unless you get this infection repeatedly.
What if it is not treated?
It does not cause any major problems to the woman or her partner and needs to be treated only if the symptoms are causing problems.
What about treating partners?
As the condition is not sexually transmissible, there is no value in treating sexual partners. However, there may be some value in the male partners of a woman with recurrent bacterial vaginosis, using a condom for a few months. This is because semen in alkaline and capable of causing imbalance in the vagina.