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BV Symptoms

BV symptoms often include an abnormal vaginal discharge. The discharge is usually white or gray and has an unpleasant odor. It can become stronger-smelling after sexual intercourse. Other BV symptoms can include burning during urination, and vaginal itching or irritation. However, some women have no BV symptoms at all.

BV Symptoms: An Overview

There are a number of possible BV symptoms, including:
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Unpleasant vaginal odor
  • Burning during urination
  • Itching around the vagina
  • Vaginal irritation.
However, some women with the condition have no BV symptoms at all.

An In-Depth Look at BV Symptoms

Women with BV (bacterial vaginosis) may have an abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor. In some women, the discharge has a strong fish-like odor, especially after intercourse.
Discharge, if present, is usually white or gray. It can be thin and milky.
Women with BV may also have burning during urination, itching around the outside of the vagina, or both.

Complications of BV Symptoms

In most cases, BV symptoms cause no complications. But there are some serious risks from BV, including:
  • Having BV can increase a woman's susceptibility to HIV infection if she is exposed to the HIV virus
  • BV increases the chances that an HIV-infected woman can pass the virus to her sex partner
  • Having BV while pregnant may put a woman at increased risk for some complications of pregnancy
  • Having BV symptoms has been associated with an increase in the development of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) following surgical procedures, such as a hysterectomy or an abortion
  • BV can increase a woman's susceptibility to other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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