Which physical findings suggest bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Updated: Oct 25, 2018
  • Author: Philippe H Girerd, MD; Chief Editor: Michel E Rivlin, MD  more...
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Vaginal discharge features include the following:

  • Most often gray, thin, and homogeneous

  • Adherent to the vaginal mucosa

  • May not visualize pooling of discharge in the posterior fornix because of adherence to the vaginal mucosa

  • May observe small bubbles in the discharge fluid

An increased light reflex of the vaginal walls may be observed, indicating a very wet appearance; however, typically, no or little evidence of inflammation is apparent.

The labia, introitus, cervix, and cervical discharge appear normal.

Evidence of cervicitis should prompt a workup for concomitant infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, or herpes simplex virus (HSV).

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