Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection affecting 1 in 3 women. It occurs when there’s an imbalance of bacteria in your vagina. This triggers symptoms like vaginal itching, a fish-like odor, white or gray vaginal discharge, and painful urination.

Women at any age can get BV, but it tends to happen more frequently in sexually active women during their reproductive years. However, it’s not a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

BV can sometimes clear up on its own, but you should see your doctor if you start to experience symptoms. There is treatment available to help you get better. If you live in the United States, your doctor can prescribe you an antibiotic. If you live in the United Kingdom, there are some non-prescribed gels and creams available over-the-counter (OTC).