Hesperian Health Guides

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection of the vagina. Soaps, perfumes, or deodorants that get in the vagina can make this infection easier to get. If sex irritates the vagina, it makes BV more likely. It is not usually dangerous, but can cause pregnant women to have their babies early or get an infection after giving birth.

a woman putting medicine into her vagina
Check if the medicine is meant to be taken by mouth or put into the vagina.
  • more discharge than usual
  • a bad, fishy smell from the vagina, especially after sex
  • mild itching

Take one of these: metronidazole by mouth or inserted vaginally, tinidazole by mouth, or clindamycin by mouth or inserted vaginally. If you are pregnant, use metronidazole by mouth.

This page was updated:16 Oct 2019