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BV is a vaginal infection. “BV” stands for bacterial (back-TEER-ee-ol) vaginosis (VAJ-in-OH-sis). When natural bacteria in the vagina increase, BV may occur. It is the vaginal infection that occurs most often.
The exact cause of BV is unknown. Use of douches and feminine sprays may increase the natural bacteria in the vagina. You cannot catch BV from someone else. Having sex does not give you BV. Women who are not having sex can get BV. However, more women who are sexually active get BV.
The two main symptoms of BV are:
Many women with BV do not notice any symptoms.
If you have signs of BV, you should contact your health care provider. You must have a test to learn if you have BV. A sample of the vaginal discharge will be tested.
If you have BV, your doctor may prescribe medicine for you. The medicine may be a medicine taken by mouth or the medicine may be a vaginal cream or gel. You must finish all of the medicine even if your symptoms have gone away.
Over-the-counter medicines for yeast or other vaginal products do not work for BV. Only a doctor or nurse practitioner can prescribe drugs for BV.
If you continue to have symptoms of BV after you finish your medicine, or if you have any questions, call your provider.
Revised September 2011