Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC Fact Sheet
Bacterial vaginosis is a common, treatable, vaginal condition. BV can increase your chance of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Basic fact sheets answer general questions about STDs.
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What is bacterial vaginosis (BV)?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that happens when there is too much of certain bacteria in the vagina. This changes the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina.
How common is BV?
BV is the most common vaginal condition in women ages 15-44.
How is BV spread?
Researchers do not know the cause of BV. However, we do know the condition most often occurs in those who are sexually active. BV is a result of an imbalance of “good” and “harmful” bacteria in a vagina. Douching, not using condoms, and having new or multiple sex partners can upset the normal balance of vaginal bacteria, increasing your risk for getting BV.
We also do not know how sex causes BV. There also is no research to show that treating a sex partner affects whether someone gets BV. Having BV can increase your chances of getting other STDs.
BV rarely affects those who have never had sex.
You cannot get BV from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools.
How can I avoid getting BV?
Healthcare providers and scientists do not completely understand how BV spreads or know how best to prevent it.
The following basic prevention steps may help lower your risk of getting BV:
- Not having sex;
- Limiting your number of sex partners;
- Not douching; and
- Using condoms the right way every time you have sex.
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