There are a number of symptoms related to bacterial vaginosis but the most obvious and common symptom is the very unpleasant, fishy, and usually very strong odor. The smell can be very repulsive and often hurts the self-esteem of the person affected. The person infected has to remember that it is not their natural smell and is a result of the infection. Many times a person is so embarrassed by it that they often show signs of depression and stay away from any public event.
If you are suffering from bacterial infection, you must remember that it is not something rare and millions of women suffer from the condition every year. In other words, you are not alone in your battle with BV. Sometimes women experience itching and burning. However, if you are experiencing itching and/or burning it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have BV. Also, itching and burning may not be present if you do have BV.
Bacterial vaginosis can go unnoticed. For example, a large number of women don’t even realize that they have it until a normal, routine trip to the OBGYN where they receive a pelvic exam. In fact, a considerable amount of women may have it and have no symptoms at all! Rest assured that if you are diagnosed ith BV, it is not considered to be a hazardous infection. In most cases it is not a threat to a woman’s overall health and doesn’t cause problems with fertility. Sometimes it can go away by itself, but if you know you are having symptoms, then it is better to get it checked because most recently it has been shown to be a factor in causing PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), which is a very serious condition and can lead to more serious problems associated with pregnancy and childbirth. If you do decide to visit a doctor, it is not recommended that you use vaginal douches before you go in to your appointment. Doing so can worsen the condition, but even worse, it can hide any signs that you are infected from your doctor.
Other symptoms associated with BV include vaginal discharge that is usually colored white or grayish with a yellow tint. Often, it is confused with a yeast infection because yeast infections are also very common in women, however BV’s symptoms are somewhat different. The look, smell and texture of the discharge is different for yeast infections. Discharge associated with bacterial vaginosis is usually runny and diluted. Many women have reported tenderness around the vaginal area as well as pain during sexual intercourse. Also, BV usually intensifies after sexual intercourse or a period.
In summary, these are the following symptoms that are most commonly associated with BV and if all three of these are present, you most likely have bacterial vaginosis:
- Vaginal discharge with an unpleasant “fishy” odor.
- When urinating, a burning sensation.
- Vaginal itching.
Remember that some women with BV don’t show any of these symptoms, and many only experience 1 or 2 with the most common being the foul odor.