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Health Information For Teens
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a mild infection in the vagina. BV happens when there are more “bad” bacteria than “good” bacteria in the vagina. BV is the most common vaginal infection affecting young women.
Many girls don’t see any signs of BV. But those who do might notice:
Itching and burning are not common signs of bacterial vaginosis. If a girl has those symptoms, the doctor will check for other conditions.
A lot of good, healthy bacteria live in the vagina. They help protect the vagina from bad bacteria that can cause symptoms such as smelly discharge. Girls with BV have fewer good bacteria than usual, which lets more bad bacteria grow. When the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina changes, a girl can start to have symptoms of bacterial vaginosis.
Although doctors don’t know for sure what causes BV, some things can make it more likely, such as:
Rarely, even girls who have never had sex can get BV. You can’t get BV from things like toilet seats, sheets and towels, or swimming pools.
The doctor or nurse will:
The usual treatment for BV is antibiotics. These come in two forms:
Because BV can come back, a girl may need to take more than one series of antibiotics. Even if you feel better partway through taking the antibiotics, be sure to finish the entire amount. That’s the best way to kill the harmful bacteria.
Your doctor might talk about things to stay away from while you’re on the antibiotic. For example:
Ask if there’s anything you should avoid while taking your medicine.
If a girl is having sex with male partners, they don’t need to be tested. If a girl is having sex with another girl, the partner also should be tested and treated if she has symptoms.
It’s not always possible to prevent BV. But you can lower your chances of getting it by:
Also, use a condom each time you have sex (vaginal, oral, or anal). This also helps protects you from getting an STD.
Most of the time, BV goes away without any problems when properly treated. BV that’s not treated can increase a girl’s chances of having health problems such as:
Infections like BV are one reason why girls who have sex need regular gyn checkups and STD tests, even if they don’t have symptoms. Most girls with BV don’t notice any symptoms, so they might not know they have it and might not get treated.
BV may be mild, but must be treated to prevent other problems. Doctors and
can diagnose and treat BV to make sure you stay healthy.
Normal vaginal discharge has several purposes: cleaning and moistening the vagina and helping to prevent infections. But sometimes discharge indicates there’s a problem. Get the facts on what’s normal and what’s not.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common reasons that teens visit a doctor. Learn about the symptoms of UTIs, how they’re treated, and more in this article.
You’ve probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.
Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit — and why most girls don’t get internal exams.
Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Wondering what you can do to feel as clean as possible “down there”? Read this article for the facts on douches, wipes, and other feminine hygiene products.
What are vaginal yeast infections? Can anything be done to prevent them?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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