BV is a common condition, and it mainly causes a vaginal discharge during periods. Bacterial Vaginosis discharge comes in different colors and has a fishy smell. However, this is commonly induced by an overgrowth of normal vaginal flora. The overgrowth causes a noticeable odor in the normal vaginal discharge, especially during periods.
Often, this condition is embarrassing as one may think they have a sexually transmitted infection or are dirty. However, if one had an STI before, it's easier to distinguish the bacterial vaginosis discharge as it has a different color and odor, as we'll see in a few.
You can visit your physician when you notice a smelly vaginal discharge. This article is a complete bacterial vaginosis guide describing what it is, its symptoms, color, its distinguishing factor, and whether it can go away on its own. Without further ado, let's dive in.
Bacterial Vaginosis BV Discharge
Usually, different body parts from the skin to the digestive system, the vagina, etc., have millions of friendly bacteria known as body normal flora. The normal flora plays a critical role in healthy vagina.
In bacterial vaginosis, the balance of the vagina's bacteria (normal flora) gets altered so that the anaerobic bacteria (the bacteria growing in non-aerated regions of the body) increase in numbers lactobacilli bacteria decreases until it dies off.
This bacterial disturbance makes the vaginal interior more alkaline or less acidic than usual. Thus, the resulting vaginal environment encourages the additional growth of anaerobic bacteria as the lactobacilli continue to decrease. The resulting condition is known as bacterial vaginosis.
BV does not always cause itching or pain. Yet the overgrowth causes the vaginal discharge to have a more pungent smell than usual, especially after intercourse. The scent makes the woman feel unclean. They end up using perfumes and soaps, worsening the condition.
However, women of all ages can catch BV though it's more prevalent among those in reproductive years. Bacterial vaginosis risk factors are douching, having multiple sex partners, STI, having bubble baths, smoking, swimming pools, copper coil contraception, heavy periods, certain antibiotics, sex toys, natural inadequacy of lactobacilli, etc. Douching is rinsing the vagina with cleansing agents and water.
Bacterial Vaginosis BV Symptoms
Most women having BV show no symptoms. When they start showing signs, the common ones include a vaginal discharge. This vaginal discharge is heavier than usual. Also, it may come in different colors, including white, gray, and green. You'll notice the discharge and odor more after intercourse. Often, the woman associates the foul odor with uncleanliness.
Hence the woman may douche several times in a day or use perfumes, vaginal deodorants, or soaps to clean this area. However, these actions may seem appropriate, and they may solve the problem temporarily, but they worsen the condition. So if you notice the foul smell, you could clean up once a day and consult with your physician on how to go about it. Otherwise, you may worsen the condition.
Another common symptom is itching around the outside of the vagina. Itching may not necessarily mean you have BV since it may indicate other conditions. However, be keen on it as it may indicate bacterial vaginosis. You also have discomfort. Rare BV symptoms are pain with urination or intercourse.
BV symptoms can occur after, during, or before your period. The amount of normal discharge varies among different women. Thus, with this regard, be sure to evaluate any vaginal discharge that you consider abnormal.
Bacterial Vaginosis BV Colors
Bacterial vaginosis presents with an array of colors. Such include thin gray, green, yellow, and white discharge with a foul smell. Other colors like brown discharge, and pink discharge. Pink and brown discharges can indicate BV or other conditions that may need attention.
Please note other infections, like yeast infections, come with almost similar symptoms to BV. However, there is always a sign differentiating one condition from the other irrespective of how similar they may be.
For instance, the vaginal discharge is thick and white in a yeast infection. It also has vulval inflammation and pain, and the vaginal discharge lacks any odor.
Bacterial Vaginosis Brown Discharge
Vaginal bacteria overgrowth may be the reason for your brown discharge. The overgrowth causes a change in the color, smell, and texture of your vaginal discharge. Mostly the brown release comes in between periods and may not necessarily mean you have BV. Please note that BV isn't a sexually transmitted disease.
The brown discharge may indicate the presence of severe conditions. These include sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Plus, it may show the presence of ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammation disorder, hormonal imbalance, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Also, it could indicate implantation, ectopic pregnancy, lochia, perimenopause, ovulation spotting, etc. It may also result from hormonal contraception.
What's more? Brown discharge is not always a cause for alarm. Why? Because when blood delays in exiting the uterus, it changes color to light or dark brown after oxidizing. Therefore, with brown discharge, ensure that you note other symptoms because they may help you point out the underlying condition.
Bacterial Vaginosis Green Discharge
When you notice a green discharge, whether you are expectant or are in normal circumstances, it's an almost sure indicator of a vaginal infection. The best action to take is to call your health care provider. When pregnant women have vaginal infections, they risk losing or delivering a low birth weight baby.
Thus, it's critical to note the changes around the discharge, the consistency, amount, and smell. Why? Because despite Bacterial vaginosis, whereby you have more harmful bacteria than the good ones, there are other multiple causes of a green vaginal discharge, including trichomoniasis, sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, and others.
With bacterial vaginosis, the green discharge will be accompanied by symptoms like vaginal itching, a fishy vaginal odor, and burning and pain while having intercourse or urinating. BV increases the chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections. Therefore, when you notice a green discharge, be sure to check and report to your doctor such symptoms.
Bacterial Vaginosis Yellow Discharge
A yellow discharge doesn't always indicate a vaginal infection. Moreover, if it's an odorless, pale yellow discharge without additional symptoms, it's not alarming. The yellow hue may come from diet changes or dietary supplements.
But in other cases, yellow discharges may indicate the presence of an STI or bacterial vaginosis. STIs commonly associated with yellow discharges include trichomoniasis and chlamydia. This hue is typically darker, and in other cases, it may be yellowish-green.
Upon noticing the abnormal yellow shade, you could check for symptoms other than the discharge. You could smell its odor, observe the timing and amount.
Possible discharge causes include vaginal infection, early pregnancy, period, vaginitis, sexually transmitted disease. You could see the doctor with a yellow discharge when you notice a color change, fishy foul smell, itchy or sore vagina, and causes pain in your pelvic area while urinating.
Bacterial Vaginosis Pink Discharge
Pink discharge during your period or throughout the menstrual cycle may not necessarily indicate concern. Why? Because blood mixes with the cervical fluid as it flows out of the uterus. This mixing makes it turn pink.
However, the discharge may indicate different conditions like vaginal infections and hormonal imbalance. Thus its timing and any other accompanying symptoms can help you identify the cause of the pink discharge.
After or before bleeding, pink discharge is normal. That's because the blood mixes with other vaginal secretions on the way out, which dilutes its red hue. However, you may have a pink discharge because of irregular menstruation. For instance, light periods may last less than two days, which are pinker. Weight fluctuations, stress, and age may cause an increased risk of pink discharge.
What Does BV Discharge Look Like?
A medical review of bacterial vaginosis, including symptoms and complications, would go a long way in helping you understand BV discharge. First, bacterial vaginosis symptoms like a thin grey vaginal discharge, a fishy vaginal odor will help you identify BV. Sometimes you may have burning and vaginal irritation while urinating and after having vaginal intercourse.
Second, BV is not an STI or STD but an infection caused by an abnormality of the normal balance of the vaginal bacteria. BV is the most common vaginal infection as it's more inborn than it's transmitted. Though it's not sexually transmitted, the condition mainly affects a woman with sexual contact with a female sex partner and multiple male partners.
Can BV Go Away on Its Own?
Sometimes BV goes away with no treatment. However, if you notice abnormal vaginal discharge or have become sexually active and noticed BV symptoms, be sure to consult with your doctor. Why? Though bacterial vaginosis may go away on its own, the chances of complications are higher.
BV complications include preterm birth in pregnant women. Preterm birth may result from bacterial vaginosis as it is associated with underweight babies at birth and premature deliveries. It may also cause sexually transmitted infections and increased post-surgical infection. Lastly, bacterial vaginosis increases the risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
However, there are various antibiotics to treat bacterial vaginosis such as flowerpower, a vegan vaginal suppository specially designed to help naturally restore your vagina's self-cleansing powers. The best way to treat BV is by prevention from the grass root.
In conclusion, BV is a mild bacterial infection of a woman's vagina that affects women of all ages. The predisposing factors include smoking, multiple female sex partners, latex condoms during intercourse, decreased lactobacilli, etc.
You could prevent bacterial vaginosis by avoiding new sex partners, avoiding public swimming pools and bubble baths, reducing their use, and avoiding specific birth control methods. Having vaginal discharge does not necessarily indicate bacterial vaginosis as various infections may result in vaginal discharge. Therefore, you could ensure that you notice the other symptoms accompanying the vaginal discharge.