Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection that is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. This imbalance could be caused by a whole range of factors, including the products you use, if you’re having regular sex and if you’re stressed. But how do you know if you have BV?
In this article, we run through some of the main symptoms of this infection as well as some more unusual symptoms.
What are the most common symptoms of BV?
There are some symptoms of BV that are very common and occur in over half of women who have the infection. These include:
● A strong fishy odour that may get worse after sexual intercourse
● Discharge that’s an off-white or grey colour
● Discharge that’s thin and watery
If you notice any of these symptoms, you may have a bacterial infection. It’s also worth noting that around half of women don’t experience any symptoms of BV at all. However, the infection may still be present, and it shouldn’t be left as it could get worse. For example, it could even develop into cervicitis. This is an inflammation of the cervix that can cause bleeding in between periods and pain during intercourse.
BV can also increase your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). This is because the good bacteria in your vagina that are usually able to fight off infections have been outgrown by the bad bacteria. Even if you don’t have any symptoms of BV, you should have a regular check-up with a doctor or gynaecologist. They will be able to look at your vaginal health and determine if there are any problems.
You can treat BV at home using a specially designed BV gel. Simply apply this to the area according to the manufacturer’s instructions and see if your symptoms get better. If the infection still doesn’t go away, consult your doctor who will be able to advise a suitable course of treatment.
Can BV cause bleeding?
BV can occasionally cause bleeding or spotting, though this is a rare symptom. If you are experiencing some bleeding, it could also be a sign of cervicitis. You should see your doctor if you are experiencing any unusual or irregular bleeding.
Can BV cause pain?
It’s rare for BV to cause any kind of vaginal pain, whether during sex or not. However, it can happen. If you are experiencing discomfort, you should speak to your doctor to determine if it’s BV or something else that is causing your pain.
Can BV cause fever?
BV won’t usually cause fever, and you shouldn’t feel unwell. If you are experiencing this, then you should speak to your doctor about being tested for other infections.
Will BV cause lower back and leg pain?
Lower back pain is a common ailment that affects the majority of the population at least once in their life. There are a number of reasons you may be experiencing lower back or leg pain, however it’s unlikely that BV is one of them.
You may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). This is caused by a build-up of bacteria in the urinary tract. In some cases, this can spread to the kidneys which can lead to lower back pain. If you’re experiencing this symptom, you should consult a doctor for advice. To prevent contracting a UTI in the future, you should always go for a wee after sex, and wipe from front to back to prevent unwanted bacteria from spreading to your vagina.
Can BV cause numbness?
A numbness or tingling sensation in the vagina could be caused by trauma to the area or by inflammation from an infection. However, it’s unlikely that BV will cause numbness in the genital area. For more information on numbness, buoy has an excellent article on the topic.
Can BV cause cramping and bloating?
It can be hard to determine what is causing your cramping and bloating, since these are regular side-effects that can occur when you’re on your period.
If your abdominal cramps are occurring alongside other symptoms, such as smelly discharge, then you may have BV or another similar vaginal infection. During pregnancy, the chances of contracting BV increase, and it’s thought that up to 30 per cent of women will experience it during this time. It can be alarming if you’re pregnant and getting symptoms such as tummy cramps. It’s a good idea to contact your doctor or gynaecologist to book an appointment just in case.