Bacterial Vaginosis
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What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)?

| Modified on Nov 03, 2021

BV Cause Theories
Posted by No Bf No Bv (La, Ca) on 03/01/2010

BV STORY, 5 yrs ago I got a new boyfriend. The first time we "got naked" HE smelled, "down there" a bit nasty and slightly fishy. It was hot weather so I thought, just sweaty and didn't want to ruin the moment by telling him to wash up. This went on and I started dropping hints "it's hot, do I smell sweaty?", him: "I like hot sweaty sex", me: "yeah, you do smell a bit sweaty, maybe we should do it in the shower" I did not think that I could "catch" a "smell" I HAD NEVER IN 30 YEARS OF HAVING SEX HAD ANY INFECTIONS or bad smell.

About two months into this relationship, I started to smell just like him. I remembered reading about "trich" a fishy smelling STD (my mother taught sex ed). Looked it up and found BV as well. I told the BF that "we" should get checked. Both of us were positive for BV.

Now this is very important!

I asked my BF if his ex girlfriend (before me) had smelled, he said yes AND that he could smell this in his own urine when he peed! He was unaware (as men are, tuna jokes) that it was an infection or that it was abnormal for women to smell fishy. Clearly he had this before I got it from HIM!

I did some deep research on this. Men can and do get this, the bacteria lodges in the epithelial (skin cells) in the urethra (inside penis) also can be under foreskin. This is how you CAN get this from men. Found a dozen med studies that confirm Gardnerella in MEN, and sexual transmission to/from women.

Normally we have a balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria. The good ones Lactobacillus (acidolphillus etc.) produce, guess what?- HYDROGEN PEROXIDE! so they can usually kill off enough bad bacteria to keep 'em in check or if a few more come in. BUT if your BF drops an extra load of BAD (Gardnerella etc.) in you, THESE bad bacterias produce enzymes that split into amines that cause the stinky discharge AND they raise the pH level too high so they can live in there and the good bacteria die off because the pH is too high for them. (BV study-Baylor College of Medicine Houston TX) So you have a situation where you have been invaded by a big "army" of BAD bacteria that your normal little vag defense league can not defeat, the "bad" bacteria takes over- BV nightmare!

SO, Initially we both did the Metro pills, smell went away so we though it was gone (low level infection may not smell detectably), but no! Both of ours came back, did the Metro again. I WENT BACK FOR A RECHECK TO MAKE SURE IT WAS GONE, it was gone. MY BF didn't want the swab up his P again so he didn't go. I stupidly trusted that the second round of antibiotics had worked for him too, but NO, HE was getting smelly again, I even smell checked his pre-ejaculate and semen, fishyyyy! We went back for more metro. The stuff makes me very sick and we both (men get yeast too) got yeast infections after the 3rd round. I refused sex for 2-3 months several times and I did not get BV. It came back as soon as we did it again.

So I finally tried the HP about 2-3 ozs used a little pop top travel size squirt bottle, laying down, hips up. 1-3 minutes for 1-7 days depending on how bad you have it. THEN mix multi live probiotics (acidolphillus and ruteri etc.), break open 2 caps mix into 2-3 ozs PLAIN organic or natural yogurt without sugar or additives! in a small cup. Suck this up into empty tube part of clean plunger (from the Metrogel or whatever useless gunck you tried), don't get air in it. Then stick plunger in bottom end of tube, use a usual. Did that for 5-6 days before bed so it stays in or put ORGANIC, cotton, unscented tampon in after as "plug" for day time. Continued taking the capsules orally for a few months, and did not eat sugar! or anything with sugar in the ingredients list, avoided restaurants as you don't know what's in the food. You need to "eat" probiotics anyway because antibiotics destroy them in your gut as well as your vagina. THIS WORKED. USED CONDOMS ALWAYS at this point for nine months, and made him wash first in case it was ON him, to avoid him getting it ON the condom while putting it on! (I was not convinced that he was actually taking the antibiotics or that they would work on him) so NO BV. Then BF takes more Metro and gets checked, SAYS he's clear so no condom:

THEN I got it again and found out that BF was cheating, dropped him! NO BF for 6 months, NO BV!!!

You can get this for other reasons, I suppose, BUT YOU CAN give and GET IT FROM MEN!!!, HAVE YOUR GUY CHECKED!!!! THIS MAY BE WHY YOU KEEP GETTING IT, BACK AND FORTH OR FROM ANOTHER WOMAN VIA HIM.

BV Cause Theories
Posted by Betty (Tampa, Florida) on 09/26/2015

OK I just had to try to find a site where I could tell what has happened with me. I have struggled for years with BV; taken every medication possible and just no luck. Recently I found that I was unable to get my hormone pills Prempro because of cost here in the states and unable thru Canada because the company was temporarily unable to get their supply from Wyth Labs until into 2016. OK I decided to just go without the Prempro and hopefully not have the hormonal sweats...after about 1 1/2 months my BV is gone. Thru the month and a half the discharge diminished and then stopped. This is the only change I have had so I have to think the Prempro was the cause of my BV problem. If you are taking hormone pills, think about this.


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Tmiller (Hattiesburg, Ms) on 09/12/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I am so glad I found this site. I want to share my piece of the BV, just about cure all, for me anyway. I suffered from BV for many years until I figured what was triggering a flare, up so to speak. A flare up would normally happen after protected sex, washing my undies in regular detergent, washing my private with regular soap, etc. I slowly but surely found out I must use non latex condoms, an antibacterial soap down there and also wash my undies alone in antibacterial liquid soap only. I no longer have the problem! It has been a great relief. Hope this helps someone.


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Kelsey (Muskegon, Michigan) on 05/11/2009
5 out of 5 stars

LISTEN UP LADIES!! I wrote a yr or some ago about BV. I have tried everything.The Flagl the gel, the acidiphoulus( 10 billion) and folic acid. I have done much research about the ph level in the va jay jay, and have learned that even following everything like cotton underwear, no douching, no scented products, no tampons, use condoms and etc. I have done it all but it brings alittle relief but of course it comes back.

First OFF, I never really had a permanent gyno doc bc i move alot. So i was going into the clinics and this and that. Well After awhile i just stopped going and wasting my money. I know this can cause so much on us women.

LAST WEEK, i finally made an appt with a great gyno and after she looked at my medical records she was floored!! Floored because NO DOCTOR BEFORE has ever done a full universal culture. They just looked under the microscope or did a whiff test. SHE WAS SHOCKED. She being that i always have these infections, she did one for me. AND last week she called me with some pretty interesting news. I have something called GROUP B strep and candida overgrowth. Now Group B is usually more common in pregnant women so thats where it gets confusing, i have never had a child, or never have been pregnant. GROUP B is bacteria that grows in the small intestines and finds it way to the vagina, and sometimes sperm irrates it and can make it worse. SO i am taking a high dose of antifungal anitbiotic every 6 hrs and i also am using a very strong antifungal cream for down there. SO FAR ITS GOOD, i am still taking this medicine, and well keep everyone updated. SO i suggest ANYONE that keeps having infections, to make sure your docs are doing a FULL culture, it usually takes a few days to get the results, so if they tell you in the office that u have BV, maybe ask if they can do a full culture. I remember having infections soooo bad sometimes i would want to curl in a hole, I also seemed to be having Gas (lol) or belly aches alot. Now my gyno said that it should clear up after this because she found the direct source, but bc i have had this problem for so long it might take 2 doses. I am not saying anyone has what i have, but please make sure u have a full culture done. When they test for stds, its not a full culture, that only tests for those diseases. SO GOOD LUCK LADIES.

BV Cause Theories
Posted by Healthybear (Virginia) on 07/10/2017

I posted over 6 years ago with having I posted over 5 years ago with having finally cured my BV. In my previous post I mentioned that I left my then boyfriend, got treated with flagyl, recolonized my system with good bacteria and lived BV free...UNTIL September of last year.

Well I'm sad to report that after reuniting with the boyfriend, my BV came back. It wasn't as bad as it was before, but within 48 hours of being intimate with him, I would get the fishy discharge every single time!!! This went on for 8 months and I tried everything I did before and it came back each time.

I wanted so badly to make things work with him because we have a child, but I could not continue taking flagyl every month so I ended it. After taking my last dose about 2 moths ago, I recolonized my system with femdolphis orally (2x per day) and purfem vaginally for 10 days. I also checked my ph daily with ph paper.

After things were back to normal, I had to test my theory that he was the cause. I had sex with the man I had been with for the past 4 years (split with him to work things out with "bv causing ex") and NO BV!!! We have had sex three times within the past month and still no problems. I continue to check my ph and it's staying in the healthy range of 3.5-4.0.

I hope this helps someone, it's possible that men do carry the bacteria and pass it back to us. I had to let my body chose who I will be with so I'm staying with the man whose penis doesn't make my vagina sick.

BV Cause Theories
Posted by L (Usa) on 02/06/2016

Anyone with recurring BV, UTI or IC request to be tested for UREAPLASMA. No Drs test for it UNLESS you demand culture. If you have suffered for years, you may become resistant to Medications. Discuss Avelox over doxycycline. Good Luck


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Cat (Warrington, Pa) on 09/28/2015

Hello Ladies,

Reading the posts on here and wanted to pass along some information. Seems a lot of people think there is no cause for BV, actually there are several.

Basically when the pH of the vagina changes it causes the bad bacteria to grow. Some reasons the pH changes: sex (semen), antibiotics, some people may inadvertently wipe from back to front thus causing fecal matter to enter the vaginal area (this will DEFINITELY cause bad bacterial growth.

I have had BV from sex, my body doesn't like my bf's semen. I treated with Flagyl and was fine. Now I try to shower immediately after and remove and cleanse my vagina.

Hope this helps someone!


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Jucole (Virginia, US) on 12/18/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Just an FYI Ladies: BV can definitely be contagious. You can get it from feminine sprays & other chemicals like your laundry detergent (always rinse clothing twice) which can be eliminated by stopping the products you're using or it could be coming from your partner. After taking meds for BV for 3 years I finally convinced my doctor to treat my boyfriend & I together & ever since I've been fine. So if you're having recurring BV infections & having unprotected sex, get your partner treated as well. I know men do not like taking pills, so fortunately there is a two day course they can take of tindamax. Please of course consult your doctor first. I think doctors are not treating male partners for this because there's no way they can test them for it, therefore they don't want to be held liable for prescribing medicine to men that have not been tested. If that makes any sense, while women continue to suffer & get sick over & over & the pharmaceutical companies continue to prosper. If your partner is reluctant in taking the meds, see if his doctor can check him for gardnerella. That is the clinical term for BV. Good luck ladies!


BV Cause Theories
Posted by G (San Diego) on 04/08/2013

Ok. I think im starting to catch on to whats going on. Some people say an antibiotic cures them. We should all look into this. I read somewhere clinical hcl helps (I just read this on this website).

I want to try this. I'm trying to do vaginal yeast medicine to see if this helps anything. Its helping. I'm also eating lots of garlic and onions and mushrooms in my meals.

Ok so what I found out while researching...

A woman had kept going to clinics and doctors trying to figure out what causing her to burn and itch down there. Everywhere told she nothing but a yeast infection. (Not funny, how I have the same experience as her). She didnt believe them.. She went back to her native country (not the United States of course) and her doctors in her native country told she had Strep B.

They gave her a antibiotic and shes cured!!!

Look up strep B is and you'll find some revealing information!! Apparently doctors in the U. S. don't prescribe you a cure for this unless you're pregnant!! I read somewhere Planned Parenthood told a girl she had Strep B. and not to worry. Only worry if you're pregnant. Very Strange if you ask me!!

I'm looking for a cure. Something. Purging by not eating after dark. Excercising as much as I can. Maye I'll frolic in the ocean. I know the ocean has its own benefits.

Let's not give up!

BV Cause Theories
Posted by Whitevinegar (Sacramento, California) on 05/20/2012

Subject: Washing Underwear with Distilled White Vinegar- I read somewhere that we could be getting the BV back from our underwear. (I wish I could find the article but can't. ) It was recommended that we use laundry soap free of dyes and perfumes and add one cup of distilled white vinegar. Use HOT water. Let the clothes soak for 30 minutes in the washing machine in the hot water/soap/white vinegar. After 30 minutes, start the washer to finish the load. If you have a dryer, hot heat is recommended. The article believed that the white distilled vinegar will kill the germs in the laundry. (NOTE: the vinegar smells when you first put it in, but it doesn't make your clothes smell by the time the laundry is finished.)


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Dee (Wixom, Michigan, United States) on 12/22/2011

When stating normal pH, it should be noted that there are a number of body systems that have their own preferred pH (and it can fluctuate between a more acidic level in the morning, versus slightly more alkaline at night). Normal vaginal pH is between 3. 8 and 4.5 (acidic). The pH level of 7 stated in this post refers to blood, interstitial fluids and urine. A vaginal pH above 5 certainly points to abnormal, indicative of disease or infection. Home pH testing kits intended for testing vaginal secretions (or one administered by an OBGYN) will confirm 3.8-4.5 as the healthy range.


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Elizabeth (Nashville, Tn) on 01/29/2010

I know how you feel! I was suffering non-stop BV and YI's for almost a year before I found this site. After reading ALL the feedback I started testing the remedies. I douched with H202 and distilled water 50/50 mix. This worked pretty well but it left me a little irritated and I found I was having to do it more than I wanted to. It can be dangerous to douche too much. So then I tried tea tree oil capsules. I got an empty veggie capsule and filled it halfway with jojoba oil and added 1-2 drops of tea tree oil. It worked well for a couple of weeks but then I actually GOT a yeast infection (I guess b/c it killed too much of the good bacteria). Out of desperation I researched boric acid suppositories. I bought some boric acid online and filled the capsule. I inserted one capsule in the morning and one at night for 5 days when I had an active infection. It worked the first day! That was almost 2 months ago and I haven't had an infection since. I insert a boric acid capsule after sex (semen tends to put off my ph and cause infections). I use 2 capsules a week as a maintenance dose to keep the ph in check. I read you can do this up to one year. Also, I ingest oil of oregano, coconut oil and a good probiotic to keep my systemic candida in check. Hope this helps!


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Happy123 (La) on 07/13/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I first started getting BV after having an IUD inserted, and it comes back every time I have sex. It's caused me to avoid sex with my boyfriend and embarrassment at work or when in close quarters with anyone as I worry they can smell the fishy odor. My doctor has always prescribes the antibiotic Metronoidazole for it, which gives me the most awful side effects. I've started to dread the antibiotic more than the BV itself.

I am so glad I found this site and read the countless positive reviews. I am also happy to be able to leave a positive review of my own. :)

Using a 50/50 solution of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and water, I soaked a tampon in the solution for about 5 minutes. I then inserted the tampon and waited for about 20 minutes before removing. After the first time, I instantly noticed that wonderfully, the smell was gone. About an hour later I still felt a mild tingling sensation but it wasn't painful or uncomfortable, just a little distracting. Halfway through the following day, I noticed that the smell was still sort of there, and so I repeated the process twice, keeping one day off in between each treatment to avoid burns or irritation. Then, 7 days after the first treatment, I bought a douche kit, emptied it out, and filled it with the 50/50 solution. The smell wasn't really noticeable after the second treatment but I really didn't feel I had done enough to get rid of the bacterial buildup, and wasn't convinced it was really gone, so a thorough douching process seemed worth the added effort (even though I always promised myself I would NEVER douche! ).

It's only been a few hours since the douching process, and I avoided my boyfriend ALL WEEK so that I could try this treatment, which, to be quite honest I was very very doubtful of before I tried.

I am not sure if the BV will stop occurring now, because I do believe that my IUD is the cause. However, I am glad to know that I can treat the nasty problem when it does come back, and using items I have around the house!


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Li (Us) on 11/10/2017

Just wanted to post here for future readers that precum/semen can cause BV. The PH of the semen of some men will throw off the PH of the vagina, thus causing BV. It is recommended to use condoms if this is a problem. Also, there is such thing as a semen allergy (seriously). If you have a semen allergy, you may also be allergic to certain types of condoms too (latex, condoms with spermicide) so be careful and try a non-latex condom.


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Lynn (Arizona) on 06/18/2017

I have suffered with BV for almost 3 years now and now that I read these comments I'm starting to trace it back to the nuva ring. It all started when I began using that and when I got off of it and used the prescribed pills for BV it went away but shortly after I got back on the nuva ring and have gotten BV again! And I don't have any health insurance at the moment so I can't go back to the doctors so I'm trying to the tea tree oil remedy and praying for the best.


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Desiree (California) on 06/06/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Hey Ladies,

because BV is a PH imbalance, tampons will actually cause BV. I was on antibiotics for almost 2 years before learning about this miracle cure. But I took it a step further and stopped wearing tampons as well. I have not had a problem since.


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Joann (Texas) on 03/07/2015

I had reoccurring BV for a year, seemed like every month or every other month, I finally convinced my husband's PCP to treat him and I would also go on the antibiotics so we could both hopefully be BV free. Well even after abstaining for an extra two weeks, as soon as we had sex, I could feel the symptoms coming back within day. It seems that semen throws off my ph, I'm sensitive to latex, but really I don't want my husband of 19 yrs to have to wear condoms and pull out doesn't always work. So after reading all the remedies on this site, I think I will try to douche after sex and insert a probiotic or maybe even the yogurt tampon w/ acidophilus sprinkled in. So just letting you know that I also had hoped us both taking the antibiotics would work, but for us it was a fail.


BV Cause Theories
Posted by Mel (Michigan, US) on 11/23/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely love this website. It really helped me deal with my BV and YI symptoms. Took Flagyl after being diagnosed with BV. Symptoms went away and then the YI came full blown. Used yogurt, probiotic, water with lemon in the morning, and junk food occasionally (I'm not going to lie...I'm a student). I was feeling great!!

BUT...symptoms came back when I started back in an unprotected sexual relationship with the same person before the flagyl. To my surprise (or maybe I was playing stupid), I began to realize that...it could be "him" reinfecting me.

This time the unprotected relationship has stopped, using condoms now!!! Back on the regimen for YI because the itchy feeling is back, with slight smelly discharge in the morning. I'm going back to doctor to re-test me. LADIES SOMETIMES ITS NOT US...ITS REALLY THEM! Good luck and be well. :)



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