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Why Bacterial Vaginosis is Not an STD

Updated on March 6, 2010

Bacterial vaginosis is not a STD but often associated with a sexual infection because it involves the genitals. It occurs when the vagina's normal bacteria is disrupted by an imbalance and replaced by an overgrowth of bacteria. It's really just that simple but often people are misinformed because they don't have the facts.

Causes of Vaginal Disease

Bacterial vaginosis is the leading cause of vaginal complaints and the most misunderstood. Most women mistake it for a yeast infection and half never know they have it because of the symptoms. It's the exact opposite with an STD which causes pain and discomfort right from the beginning.

BV is really not an infection at all. It only represents an imbalance of live bacteria that normally are found in the vagina. This imbalance occurs when the ph level of a woman's vagina becomes less acidic and the bacteria begin to multiply. I know it's strange that we need our vagina to be acidic but that's really what keeps our genital area disinfected and considered normal.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis

When a woman first experiences the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, its no wonder she immediately believes it's an STD. The fishy pungent odor, discharge, and itching would obviously lead you to believe you've caught a sexual infection but really you haven't. It's become more common than a yeast infection.

So, what causes BV?

It's still a mystery but scientist suspect it's from all the chemical compounds we use in the vaginal area. Just think of all the common products you purchase like bath gels you soak with or feminine sprays you use or deodorant tampons; all of these things can bring about an imbalance and change the environment within the vagina. Certain activities can trigger a woman to contract BV such as changing sexual partners, douching and a change in the laundry detergent you use. 

STD's, formerly referred to as venereal diseases, are spread through sexual contact, including oral, anal and vaginal sex. STD's include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HPV, HIV/Aids, Herpes (HSV) and genital warts. The symptoms are more obvious in men than in women but can lay dormant and undetected which has dire consequences if not treated.

Although bacterial vaginosis is not an STD history tells us that many genital problems are often misunderstood and therefore mislabeled. For a while BV was tested using the same kits as an STD. If it was tested positive then it therefore was diagnosed as an STD; wrongfully of course but that's where it started. Even today, doctors misdiagnose Bacterial vaginosis because there aren't a lot of scientific results that provide concrete information about it. When faced with the medical unknown, doctors usually prescribe an antibiotic for it. 

People blindly believe what their told without educating themselves on the particulars.  Bacterial vaginosis is not any type of infection or sexually related. However, if left untreated BV can become a big problem signaling pain, profuse discharge and genital rashes.

If you are unsure about your health you should contact a doctor to get tested. There are new tests that can differentiate Bacterial Vaginosis from an STD.

What Do You Think? Have You Say!

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      Jeannie 4 years ago

      Bacterial Vaginosis is an issue of ph, a change in the ph of your vagina can result in this common issue for women. There are many ways to deal with it naturally, I found a great ebook about the whole subject on

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      ashley 5 years ago

      Actually, not all STDs cause immediate pain and discomfort. Please don't spread false information. This is why STD testing is so important... not all STDs have obvious symptoms and women often don't know they have them.