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What causes Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)?
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In women of reproductive age, BV (bacterial vaginosis) is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal discharge.


A normal, healthy vagina is home to a variety of different bacteria. However, in BV the balance is disturbed, and an overgrowth of some of these bacteria occurs. It’s not entirely clear why this happens. The most common symptom is a change in vaginal discharge, which may become white-grey in colour and may have a fishy smell. However, many women with BV do not have any symptoms at all (up to half of cases).


Women are more likely to get BV if they:

  • are sexually active
  • have recently changed sexual partner
  • have a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • are smokers
  • have a copper coil for contraception
  • use bubble bath


Women are less likely to get BV if:

  • they use the combined oral contraceptive pill
  • they have a partner who has had a circumcision
  • their partner uses a condom
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