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Gynecology

Chronic BV?

07/09/2008

Question:

 I`m 24, of average weight and activity level with an average diet. I have, for the past several years, had an increase in vaginal discharge. I haven`t had sex in two years, so I can`t fathom it being an STD. The discharge is always clear, thin (almost water)sometimes with an odor, sometimes without. It usually smells a bit just before my cycle, or days following masterbation. Volume also increases during these times, so much so, that I have to change underwear during the day.

My last two paps (6 months apart) came back abnormal, but not positive for HPV. At the second one, they took a culture of the discharge, said it was bacterial vaginosis and put me on antibiotics.

Now, the antibiotics didn`t really change anything about it, and, these problems have become, more or less, normal to me, as I`ve dealt with them for several years--you know you get used to coping with things. I`m just wondering if there is such a thing as chronic bacterial vaginosis? Is this something completely different? Or does my OB/GYN have me stressing out about something that just happens to be normal for my body chemistry? Thanks for your help.

Answer:

First of all, BV isn't really an infection, but rather, an imbalance of the normal bacteria already present in the vagina. If the typical antibiotics for BV didn't really improve things, you probably didn't have BV. If it did, but it came back, you need to look for causes of recurrent BV. Anything that would change the environment of the vagina would lead to recurrent BV. Douching, feminine products, lubricants, etc can lead to recurrent BV. Please search the previously answered questions regarding Bacterial Vaginosis for more information.

Related Resources:

Bacterial Vaginosis

For more information:

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Response by:

Thomas  A deHoop, MD Thomas A deHoop, MD
Formerly Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Medical Student Education
No longer associated