Frequently Asked Questions About Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

I’ve never heard of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) before. What is BV?

BV is actually the most common vaginal infection in women of reproductive age and in most cases there is no need to worry. It’s generally caused by an imbalance in the pH of your vagina. If you think you have BV and you are pregnant talk to your doctor about treatment. Click here to find out more about BV.

What are the symptoms of BV?

Symptoms vary from woman to woman, but some common symptoms to look out for include a fishy or unpleasant odour and watery, greyish-white discharge Click here to learn about other symptoms of BV.

I’ve noticed a really bad smell ‘down there’ and washing hasn’t gotten rid of it – help!

A fishy odour is a common symptom of BV but unfortunately washing can actually contribute to the smell rather than getting rid of it. This is because washing with regular soaps or shower gels and vaginal douching can change the pH balance of your vagina, leading to a BV infection and the odour.

How do I treat BV?

If you’ve been diagnosed by your doctor and you know you have BV, you can use a vaginal gel such as Canesbalance BV Gel that will help to relieve the symptoms of your infection. Canesbalance BV Gel is a 7-day treatment that starts working in 2-3 days to help regulate the pH balance of your vagina in order to treat your infection and get rid of the symptoms. For more details about Canesbalance click here.

Thrush or bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

It’s easy to mistake BV for thrush because awareness of BV is very is low, but in fact the symptoms and causes are different. Thrush is a yeast infection, whereas BV is a bacterial infection.


Always read the label.
If you want to report a side effect or quality complaint, please contact your health care professional (e.g. physician or pharmacist), or the Health Products Regulatory Agency (HPRA), or go to the “Contact” menu at
Enquiries can also be directed to

Unfortunately we are still experiencing supply issues on the following Canesten products; Canesten Combi, Canesten 500mg pessary, Canesten 200mg and Canesten Duopak. Canesten Soft Gel Combi will be available in store from late January. Supply of Canesten 2% Thrush cream and Canesten 1% cream is unaffected by the supply issue. This website will be updated as further updates come through. Apologies for the inconvenience this is causing to pharmacies and our customers.