Bacterial Vaginosis is one of the most common infections affecting young women1.

According to Dr Taheera Hassim, a Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common vaginal infection affecting young women.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a mild infection in the vagina which develops when there is an imbalance between the helpful “good” bacteria in the vagina and the problematic “bad” bacteria1.

Many people incorrectly believe that bacterial vaginosis is a sexually transmitted disease2. Dr Hassim explains that although it is not considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD), the chances of developing bacterial vaginosis seem to increase with the number of sexual partners a woman has.

 “You don’t need to be having sex to get BV. Girls who have never had sex can also get it,” she says.

Dr Kim Sonntag, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist from Rondebosch Medical Centre in Cape Town, reiterates that although bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease, new sexual partners can increase one’s risk.

 Dr Sonntag says that the main symptom of bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal discharge and an unpleasant vaginal odour.

Other symptoms can include pain and itching, although most young women with BV might not notice any symptoms, which is concerning, as untreated BV can lead to other problems1.

Some women may also get confused between BV and thrush. “Thrush commonly has a thick, white vaginal discharge with itching whereas BV has a discoloured or milky, watery type discharge,” explains Dr Sonntag.

Dr Sonntag also says that BV is more common in cases where douching is often performed.

“Douching is washing or cleaning out the inside of the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids,” says Dr Hassim. “Many women claim that douching makes them feel cleaner, eliminates embarrassing odours and protects them against infection,” she says.  “The vagina, like many other areas of the body, can cleanse itself. There is very little reason for a normal, healthy woman to use a vaginal douche. Douching can upset the balance of the vagina. This can make it easier for one to get these infections,” she says.

The good news is that bacterial vaginosis is treatable. Treatment options include gels, creams and oral treatments3.

The ideal treatment for this uncomfortable condition needs to be one that fits into a busy and social lifestyle – a treatment that is both effective, convenient and time saving.

One option is a water based gel treatment which is administered vaginally meaning that the infected area is treated directly once a day for five consecutive days at bed time4.

Speaking about vaginal healthy might seem embarrassing, but the health of your vagina is more important. Arm yourself with the facts and remember that an infection such as BV in your vagina is not a sign of poor hygiene5.

Remember, BV is the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15-443.

For treatment of bacterial vaginosis, speak to your doctor or health care professional and complete a self-assessment questionnaire to check if your symptoms might be BV.

DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals and includes independent comment and opinion from independent healthcare providers and is the opinion and experience of those particular healthcare providers and not necessarily that of iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.”  

For more information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. Name and business address: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07. 15E Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. IN2770/18


  1. What is Bacterial Vaginosis. KidsHealth from Nemours. January 2015 (https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/bv.html). Website accessed on 01 May 2018
  2. Kyle JA and Butcher A. Bacterial Vaginosis: Facts and Myths – Pharmacy Times. June 2008 (http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2008/2008-06/2008-06-8557)
  3. 20 Incredible Bacterial Vaginosis Statistics – Health Research Funding. November 2014 (https://healthresearchfunding.org/20-incredible-bacterial-vaginosis-statistics/) Website accessed on 01 May 2018
  4. Product approved package insert, February 2001.
  5. Bacterial Vaginosis – Women’s Health Concern