Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Women’s health centre

Bacterial vaginosis - Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

NHS Choices Medical Reference

NHS Choices Logo

The main symptom of bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a change in your usual vaginal discharge.

Your discharge may:

  • become thin and watery
  • change to a white or grey colour
  • develop a strong, unpleasant, fishy smell, particularly after sexual intercourse

Other symptoms of BV can include:

  • pain during intercourse
  • pain when passing urine
  • some light bleeding from your vagina

BV does not usually cause itching or irritation.

Around half of all women with BV do not have any symptoms. This is known as asymptomatic BV.

If you do not have symptoms, there is no need to get tested to find out if you have BV as asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis does not pose a threat to health or pregnancy.


Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease, and some are good for you.


The vagina is a tube of muscle that runs from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vulva (the external sexual organs).
Medical Review: January 03, 2012
Next Article:

Popular Slideshows & Tools on Boots WebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
fish n chips
Diarrhoea & more
man coughing
10 common allergy triggers
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
hand extinguishing cigarette
13 best tips to stop smoking
woman washing face
Living and dealing with eczema
boy looking at broccoli
Quick tips for feeding picky eaters
bag of crisps
Food cravings that wreck your diet
dogs face
Workout with Fido
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting