Who can get bacterial vaginosis?

Any woman can get BV. BV is much more common in sexually active women. You may have a higher risk of getting BV if you:

  • Have many sex partners
  • Have a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Are a smoker

How can I protect myself from bacterial vaginosis?

Best ways to prevent BV are not yet known. Female hygiene products like douches and deodorants will not cure the infection. These products have actually been linked to a higher risk of getting BV. Smokers are also more likely to have BV. If you use sexual stimulation devices (sex toys), make sure these are cleaned properly. Studies show that the more sexual partners a woman has, the more likely she is to have BV. Therefore, safer sex practices are important, including using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners.

To maintain your overall good health:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise
  • Manage stress levels
  • Get a pelvic exam as directed by your provider
  • Stop smoking

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