Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection that can affect teens and adults. The infection occurs when there is a sudden change in the bacterial flora in the vagina. It’s not completely clear why BV happens, but cases are often more common in young women with multiple sexual partners. Although BV is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it occurs more frequently in those who have condomless sex and/or those with multiple partners. BV is also associated with douching products, vaginal deodorants, or other irritating products.
Some people may get partial relief from BV symptoms with daily yogurt consumption and/or probiotic use. However, these treatments haven’t been proven yet and a doctor’s appointment is still important for complete treatment. It’s also important to avoid any potential causes of BV (eg stop using douching products if you are)
The best way to treat BV is best determined by your health care provider (HCP). The HCP will likely prescribe a cream or gel that will be inserted into your vagina with an applicator (like a tampon) or a prescription for pills that will be taken by mouth. These medications will help regulate the bacterial flora in your vagina, which should resolve the BV. In the event that your HCP is unavailable, you can visit a community health clinic, such as Planned Parenthood, to receive treatment.