A healthcare provider must examine the vagina in order to make a diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis
. There is also a test to find out if you have it. For this test, the doctor takes a sample of fluid from your vagina and has it tested. The doctor may also be able to see signs of BV -- like a grayish-white discharge -- during an examination of the vagina.
Treatment usually consists of a course of antibiotics -- the dose can vary between pregnant and non-pregnant women. The condition can clear up on its own in some cases. However, all women with possible symptoms of BV (or those having certain surgical procedures) should receive a proper diagnosis and treatment to avoid future complications or a recurrence of the disease.
(Click Treatment for BV to learn more about how bacterial vaginosis is treated.)
BV prevention requires open communication with your healthcare provider and sexual partners. Practicing safe sex is a key part of preventing BV, as is having sex with only one partner -- or even abstaining from sex altogether. By preventing BV, you can avoid many of the potentially serious complications that can occur with this condition.