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Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal infection. It is caused by excess growth of certain bacteria that are normally found in the vagina. Symptoms can include itching, swelling, pain when you urinate or have sex, and a grey or yellow discharge with a "fishy" odour. It is not considered an infection that is spread through sexual contact.
Although symptoms can be annoying and uncomfortable, bacterial vaginosis does not usually cause other health problems. But if you have it while you are pregnant, it can cause complications.
While the infection may go away on its own, most doctors use antibiotics to treat it. You may have been prescribed pills or vaginal cream. With treatment, bacterial vaginosis usually clears up in 5 to 7 days.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: February 19, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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