Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

If you haven’t heard of bacterial vaginosis (BV), you’re not alone. Many women don’t know that vaginal infections are most commonly caused by bacteria rather than yeast (in the case of thrush) and trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted infection).

BV is the most common cause of vaginal infections in women of childbearing age and is caused by certain bacteria leading to a pH imbalance in your vagina.

Bacterial vaginosis doesn’t usually cause any soreness or vaginal itching, but often causes unusual vaginal discharge.

Most people experience symptoms such as:

  • A fishy or unpleasant odour
  • Thin and watery discharge
  • Greyish white looking discharge
  • Worsening of the above after sex or during your period

Everyone is different, so some women who have BV may not suffer from any symptoms. Do remember, BV is not a sexually transmitted infection and is the most common cause of vaginal infections in women of childbearing age.

Thrush or Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)?

Many women mistake BV for thrush, but they are two different infections with different symptoms. Because BV treatment is different to thrush treatment, it’s important to know which infection you have and treat it in the right way. If you’re unsure if you have BV or thrush, we’ll help you to diagnose yourself in 10 seconds so you can get the right treatment. We’ve developed a new self-test kit so you can quickly and reliably find out if you have thrush or BV from the comfort of your own home.

When should you see your doctor?

If you are suffering from BV for the first time or if you are pregnant, make an appointment to see your doctor. BV may cause complications, especially in the course of pregnancy and childbirth, but with the help of your doctor, you’ll be able to manage it properly.

Lady in baseball hat

Did you know?...

…your vagina is naturally acidic which puts it lower on the pH scale (normally lower than a pH of 4.5)


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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.