The symptoms and signs of bacterial vaginosis are few because they are limited to only the vaginal area. They are also easy to spot because they look out of place in a healthy woman’s body.
Vaginal Discharge Is the Main Indicator of Bacterial Vaginosis
The main symptom of bacterial vaginosis is vaginal discharge. It is often described as having a gray, white or green color, along with a thin viscosity. In addition, the discharge may have a foul, fishy odor that you may notice right away.
Two more indicators of bacterial vaginosis include itching in the vaginal area and a burning feeling during urination.1 Should you notice a combination of any of the three symptoms mentioned, have yourself checked by a doctor immediately, as they can be indicators of other vaginal diseases, such as yeast infection2 and trichomoniasis.3
How Bacterial Vaginosis Is Diagnosed
If you notice that you have developed a vaginal discharge accompanied by a foul odor, it’s best to head to the doctor right away for a diagnosis. To find out if your suspicions are correct, there are three methods your doctor can employ:
• Vaginal Acid Level Test
In an acid level test, your doctor will take a sample of your vaginal discharge via a pH paper and will then run tests on it. He may also place an alkali sample on the paper to reproduce the fishy smell.
Bacterial vaginosis causes the pH levels of your vagina to rise, and if the results indicate that you have a pH level greater than 4.5,4 you most likely have the disease.5
• Cotton Swab Sample
Your doctor may take a sample of your discharge using a cotton swab, and will use it to analyze what microbes are present in the discharge. This will help steer your treatment in the right direction if the discharge is caused by microbes other than bacteria.6
• Pelvic Exam
Your doctor may administer a pelvic exam by inserting two fingers into your vagina while pressing on your abdomen to look for signs of an infection not just on the vagina itself, but on other organs in the region.7
Visit Your Doctor Once You Discover These Symptoms
Can bacterial vaginosis go away on its own? There are cases where this can happen, but it does not apply to every woman who gets this condition. If you notice a foul-smelling discharge coming out of your vagina, visit your doctor right away. The sooner you get to the doctor, the sooner you can figure out the underlying cause of the symptoms and follow the appropriate treatment for it.