Bacterial vaginosis (bv)

Bacterial vaginosis is not an STI, but a bacterial imbalance in the vagina. It can occur after washing with soap, or when you leave a tampon in for too long.

Common cause

A common cause of bacterial vaginosis is gardnerella vaginalis bacteria. These bacteria are found in your vagina and don’t usually bother you.

Bacterial vaginosis through sex?

Sex can also cause bacterial vaginosis, for instance when the lubricant you use disturbs the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. Fingering or oral sex (cunnilingus) can transmit harmless bacteria that cause an imbalance in the vagina.  


Often the symptoms disappear by themselves so don’t need to be treated. Treatment is only necessary if the symptoms bother you or keep coming back. In that case, you’ll be given a short course of antibiotics. During the treatment you can’t drink alcohol or have sex.


  • Itching or pain in the vagina
  • Grey discharge that smells strongly of rotten fish
  • Red irritated labia