What are the characteristics of bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Updated: Oct 25, 2018
  • Author: Philippe H Girerd, MD; Chief Editor: Michel E Rivlin, MD  more...
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BV is the most common cause of vaginitis and the most common infection encountered in the outpatient gynecologic setting. An increase in vaginal discharge and vaginal malodor caused by a change in the vaginal flora characterizes BV. The vaginal discharge of BV is characteristically described as a thin, gray, homogeneous fluid that is adherent to the vaginal mucosa.

Many studies have demonstrated the relationship of Gardnerella vaginalis with other bacteria in causing BV. BV is known to be a synergistic polymicrobic infection. Some of the associated bacteria include Lactobacillus species, Prevotella, and anaerobes, including Mobiluncus, Bacteroides, Peptostreptococcus, Fusobacterium, Veillonella, and Eubacterium species. Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, and Streptococcus viridans may also play a role in BV. Atopobium vaginae is now recognized as a pathogen associated with BV. [4]

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