Preventing BV

Preventing BV requires open communication with your healthcare provider and sexual partners. Practicing safe sex is a key part of any prevention plan, as is having regular pelvic exams. By preventing BV, you can avoid many of the complications that may occur with this condition.

Preventing BV: An Overview

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is not well understood by scientists, and the best ways of preventing BV are still being determined.

Preventing BV: Lower the Risk

It is known that BV is associated with having a new sex partner or having multiple sex partners. The following tips can help lower your risk for getting BV:
  • Don't have sex. The best way to prevent any sexually transmitted disease (STD) is to practice abstinence by not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
  • Use condoms. Protect yourself with a condom every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. For vaginal sex, use a latex male condom or a female polyurethane condom. For anal sex, use a latex male condom. For oral sex, use a dental dam. A dental dam is a rubbery material that can be placed over the anus or the vagina before sexual contact.
  • Be faithful. Only having sex with one partner is another way to reduce your chances of getting infected. Be faithful to each other, meaning that you only have sex with each other and no one else.
  • Talk with your sex partner(s) about STDs and using condoms. It's up to you to make sure you are protected. Remember, it's your body!
  • Don't douche. Douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protects you from infection. This may increase your chances of getting BV. It may also increase the chances of BV coming back after treatment.
  • Have regular pelvic exams. Talk with your doctor about how often you need them. Many tests for STDs can be done during an exam.
  • Talk frankly with your doctor or nurse and your sex partner(s). Be sure to discuss any STDs you or your partner currently have or have had in the past. Talk about any discharge in the genital area. Try not to be embarrassed.
  • Get tested for BV if you are pregnant and have symptoms. Also get tested if you have had a premature delivery or low birth weight baby in the past. Get tested as soon as you think you may be pregnant.
  • Finish your medicine. If you have BV, finish all the medicine that you are given to treat it. Even if the symptoms go away, you still need to finish all of the medicine.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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