What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

The most common symptom of BV is an increased vaginal discharge that usually has a "fishy" odor. The discharge is normally a milky white or gray color.1 A woman may feel a burning sensation or, in rare cases, itching, when she urinates.

Sometimes a woman with BV has no symptoms. If you think you may be at risk of developing BV because you wear an intrauterine device (IUD) or because you have recently douched, taken antibiotics, or had unprotected sex, consider talking with your health care provider about getting checked for BV. For more details about factors that increase risk for BV, see What causes BV?


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (n.d.). FAQ: Gynecologic problems. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq028.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120510T1238147389 external link (PDF 258 KB)
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