Jan 18, 2013 BV - There's something fishy going on here! Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a common sometimes embarrassing condition experienced by many women at various stages of their sexual career. Unfortunately it has a tendency to reoccur and available treatment can be as effective as consulting tea leaves to predict the future of your romance. In saying that, there are a few things we DO know about this pesky problem. BV is not considered a Sexually Transmissible Infection (STI). While BV is much more likely to occur in women that are doing the wild thing with other women, it is unclear if it is transmitted via sex or as result of a change in the normal balance of the vaginal bacteria. There are some women that may be more prone to experiencing BV. Women that use a douche or clean inside the vagina, women who have a female sexual partner or change sexual partners frequently, sex workers, women who receive oral sex (lucky them) and women that don’t use condoms. In saying all of that, the cause is unknown so predicting who will and who will not develop BV is impossible to put money on. The treatment of BV involves a course of antibiotics. At this stage there is no evidence that treating male partners is beneficial but treating female partners can reduce the risk of BV reoccurring. Most women will not experience symptoms and if this is the case treatment is not always necessary. Symptoms can include an unpleasant odour (a fish wives tale), an increase in discharge and a change in colour and consistency (watery and grey) of discharge. If BV is not treated and the woman is not pregnant complications are very rare. There is some evidence that BV may increase the risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) or contracting other STIs. So how does one avoid this BV? Using hormonal contraception and condoms every time you have sex can offer some protection. Most importantly avoid excessive douching or washing of the vagina. The Vagina is a wonderful piece of equipment with very effective self-cleaning properties. Let it do its job! For more information speak to your local GP or Family Planning service.