Bacterial vaginosis (BV) can sometimes go away without treatment, but if you have persistent symptoms you should speak to your medical provider about getting antibiotics for BV. The antibiotics usually prescribed to treat BV are metronidazole or clindamycin. There are some potential risks to leaving BV untreated, so don’t ignore this condition.
What Can Happen If I Don’t Treat Bacterial Vaginosis?
If you have BV and do not treat it, you are at a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, or passing them on to sex partners. If you are pregnant, BV can lead to premature birth or low birth weight.
How Do I Know If I Have Bacterial Vaginosis?
Some women do not experience any symptoms with BV. Common symptoms include:
- Gray, green, or white vaginal discharge
- A fishy odor that’s particularly noticeable after sex
- Itching or burning when you urinate
How Is Bacterial Vaginosis Different From a Yeast Infection?
Though BV and yeast infections have some similar symptoms, you cannot treat BV with the same over-the-counter products that you can use for a yeast infection. BV occurs when you have an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. It is often caused by an overgrowth of bacteria called Gardnerella vaginalis. A yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida.