As women, it is up to us to ensure that we look after our vaginas.
But the truth is, way too few of us actually understand vaginal health and the signs we should look out for if something is not quite right.
One of the most common health risks to our vaginas is bacterial vaginosis. We’ll save you the detailed medical terminology, but in short, it is an infection that starts off mild but can grow to cause serious complications if not treated properly or quickly!
And that’s the goal today—to get you informed on how to tell the signs of when you might have bacterial vaginosis and what you should do about it!
What causes it?
The cause for bacterial vaginosis is pretty straight forward—it occurs when there is an imbalance between your good and bad bacteria in your vagina (yes, a small level of bad bacteria in your vagina is normal and necessary!). When the bacteria is not neutralized, the bad bacteria can overwhelm the good bacteria and cause infections to occur. This is when bacteria vaginosis has an opportunity to develop.
What are the signs?
One of the most straightforward signs to tell if you have bacterial vaginosis is if you have bv discharge. This symptom happens for pretty much every single person who gets this infection. The discharge is normally a white or grey color that is of very thin consistency. Not only does the discharge cause a burning or discomfort in your vagina, but it also produces a very potent smell that many describe as “fishy”.
It is important to remember that it is normal for your vagina to have random discharges, especially in the lead up to getting your menstrual cycle. But it is not normal for your discharge to be any other color than clear and it certainly shouldn’t smell funky! So if you notice this type of discharge—even if it is just a small batch of it—you should take action right away!
What should you do if you get bv discharge?
While you are more than capable of telling if your vaginal discharge is a little off, it is always (always!) recommended seeing your doctor as well. The reason being is that they will be able to diagnose you with much more certainty that your discharge is a symptom of bacterial vaginosis and give you antibiotics to treat it accordingly. It is so important to take action quickly when you notice that you have developed by discharge because more serious health complications can occur—such as a higher chance of getting HIV and having pregnancy problems.
How do you prevent getting bv discharge?
Now, just because you get bv discharge does not mean that it is all doom and gloom. There are plenty of treatment options but also preventative measures to help lower the risk of you getting this problem in the future. Some lifestyle habits you can adopt to lower the risk of getting bv discharge includes not smoking, using pH specific vaginal cleansers, not using a douche, and being smart about your sexual activity.
So the next time you notice a smelly grey or white discharge, book in a visit with your doctor to take action fast. Not only should you not have to suffer through the other symptoms of an irritated and burning vagina, but you want to prevent any more serious health complications from occurring that can impact you long-term.
And if you continue to get by discharge, consider changing the cleaning products that you use to wash your vagina and look at some lifestyle choices you can tweak as well!