Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection, which is almost twice as common as thrush yet research indicated that 51 per cent of women have never heard of it.
Today is National BV Day, and is hoping to bring more awareness to the infection and empower women to make the right diagnosis.
If the infection is left untreated it can lead to serious Health implications, so it's time that you knew and understand the facts surrounding it.
"BV is caused by an imbalance in the natural bacteria found in the vagina. The symptoms of BV are quite similar to thrush and, as most women have never heard of thrush and very few have heard about BV, they will tend to misdiagnose it as thrush in the first instance," explains Dr Dawn Harper, who is supporting the first National BV Day today in association with Balance Activ Vaginal Gel.
BV is twice as prevalent as thrush and, according to experts, it is the leading cause of abnormal discharge for women of childbearing age. 1 in 3 women are likely to develop BV at some point in their lives (that’s 8.9 million women in the UK alone). However, 2 out of 3 women are misdiagnosing BV as thrush due to lack of awareness, and misunderstanding around the symptoms. BV can often be distinguished by an unusual fishy odour, whereas thrush is odourless.
Dr Harper continues: "BV itself is not dangerous but if left untreated, BV has been linked with some serious implications including increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (which can lead to reduced fertility) and increased risk of contracting certain Sexually Transmitted Infectins, including HIV. BV has also been linked to early labour and premature birth, if present during pregnancy so it is really important women know how to spot the symptoms of BV so it can be treated effectively."
National BV Day is hoping to provide women with all the advice and information they need to identify the signs of BV, treat it effectively, prevent recurring infections, and perhaps more importantly, avoid the potentially serious consequences of misdiagnosis.
Unpleasant 'fishy' odour which may be more noticeable during or after sex
Abnormal discharge - usually thin and grey (heaviest just after a period or after having sex)
Vaginal discomfort, irritation or itching