What Are The Symptoms?

A bad smelling discharge is what usually brings the woman into the doctor. It is described as whitish with a gray or yellowish tint. It is thin and watery. It may get worse after her period or vaginal sex.

Some have sensations of itching or burning. Women sometimes confuse this with yeast infections. Yeast does not look, nor smell, nor feel like Bacterial Vaginosis. The reason women mix them up is because they are the two most common vaginal infections.

  • The main symptom of BV is a vaginal discharge. BV is the most common cause of vaginal discharge in women of childbearing age. The discharge is often a white-grey colour, and often has a fishy smell. The smell may be most noticeable when having sex. The discharge tends to be heaviest just after a period, and after having sex.
  • The discharge of BV does not usually cause itch or soreness around the vagina and vulva.
  • Many women with BV do not have any symptoms (up to half of cases). These women may be found to have BV by chance when vaginal swabs are taken for other reasons.

Note: BV is not the only cause of a vaginal discharge. Various conditions can cause a discharge. For example, the second most common cause of a discharge is due to thrush which is an infection caused by a yeast called candida. Unlike BV, thrush typically causes a thicker white discharge which tends to cause itch and soreness around the vagina and vulva.