What is bacterial vaginosis (BV)?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV), also known as nonspecific vaginitis or Gardnerella vaginitis, is an infection of the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria. The vagina normally contains a variety of bacteria, but BV occurs when the balance is upset. It's not known why women develop bacterial vaginosis, although women who use an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control and those who have been pregnant may be at higher risk.
Symptoms of BV include vaginal burning, itching, discharge, and a "fishy" odor. Doctors diagnose bacterial vaginosis by the symptoms, a physical examination, and laboratory tests. Doctors usually treat BV with prescription antibiotics. It generally isn't necessary to treat sexual partners of infected women. Studies haven't shown that natural and alternative remedies are effective for treating BV. Douching can actually increase the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis.