Children & Adolescents Clinic

 Home Parent's Guide

Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is an infection caused by one of several bacteria. Bacterial vaginal infections may or may not be sexually transmitted.

You must see a doctor to check if you have bacterial vaginosis for sure.

What are the symptoms?

  • You may have gray-white discharge from the vagina, sometimes foul-smelling.
  • You may have itching, redness, or soreness of the vagina.

How long will it last?

With proper treatment the infection usually clears up in 1 week.

What is the treatment?

  1. Medication

    You will need to take the medication prescribed by your physician.

  2. Contacts

    If you are sexually active, do not have sex until your symptoms are gone and you have finished your treatment. If you are sexually active and your infection comes back, tell your sexual partner about your infection because he should also be treated.

  3. Prevention

    Because bacterial vaginosis can be sexually transmitted, there are ways that you can help prevent this infection. Not having sex (abstinence) is the best method of prevention. Use of condoms is the next best method. You are less likely to get an STD if you have just one sexual partner.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • Your symptoms get worse or last more than 1 week. Return to your physician's office to determine whether you need additional treatment.
  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by David W. Kaplan, M.D., and the staff of the Adolescent Medicine Center, The Children's Hospital, Denver, Colorado.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems