You might have heard about it, but still you may be asking what is bacterial vaginosis? You should know that this is the most common vaginal infection among women of childbearing age and it is usual for it to be accompanied by discharge, pain, odor, burning or itching.

What causes bacterial vaginosis?

At the moment the scientists don’t really know the exact cause of the infection. The appearance of it can be associated with an imbalance of the bacteria that is normally found in the vagina. This usually contains mostly ‘good’ bacteria and also some ‘harmful bacteria’. Vaginosis appears in the moment when there is an increase in the number of the harmful bacteria.

How can one contact the infection?

Now that you know what bacterial vaginosis is you should know that it is still uncertain how women contact it. It is known that those women who didn’t have multiple sexual partners are rarely affected.

The role that sexual activity has to play in the appearance of the infection is unknown and there are also some unanswered questions regarding the harmful bacteria.

When thinking about what is bacterial vaginosis we should know that there are some things that most certainly don’t cause an infection, including toilet seats, swimming pools, bedding or touching different objects.

How common is the infection?

Knowing what bacterial vaginosis is, you could be asking how many women are affected by it. This type of condition is quite common and about 16% of all pregnant women have the infection. An interesting thing about the infection is that it is more common among women treated in STD clinics that among women visiting prenatal or family planning clinics.

Signs and symptoms

A very common question is what is bacterial vaginosis and how to recognize it? Usually the infection is accompanied by a vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor. There have been some women who said that it has a fish-like odor, especially after intercourse. This discharge can be thin and it usually is white or gray.

After finding out what bacterial vaginosis is, you should know that another symptom of the infection could be a burning sensation while urinating or itching outside the vagina. Still it is possible for women not have any symptoms at all.

How to diagnose it?

Knowing what bacterial vaginosis is can make you ask about how the doctors know whether you have it or not. In order to know for sure a doctor must examine the vagina to see if there are any signs of bacterial vaginosis and also to take samples of the vaginal fluids to be tested at a laboratory.

Who is at risk?

When you know what is bacterial vaginosis you may wonder whether it is possible for you to have it. The truth is that any woman could be affected by it. Still there are some actions that might increase the risk of having an imbalance regarding the vaginal bacteria, including having unprotected sex with a new sex partner.

So many women wonder what is bacterial vaginosis and even more ask around about the symptoms. However, in case one thinks that she experiences the problem, she should see a doctor and not try to treat the symptoms for herself.