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BV or Gardnerella

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) or Gardnerella

What is it?

BV is an overgrowth of bacteria normally found in the vagina. When the normal acid environment in the vagina changes there can be an overgrowth of these bacteria. Bacterial Vaginosis is not sexually transmitted.

Signs and symptoms

  • White or grey discharge with an unpleasant ‘fishy’ odour that is occasionally frothy.
  • Vulval irritation such as redness or itching.


BV is not harmful and usually only treated if it is causing symptoms. A single dose or course of antibiotics can be given to treat BV. There are a range of remedies that aim to restore the acid balance in the vagina but there is little evidence they work. Anecdotally some workers find it helpful to use a different lube.