Like many other parts of the body, the vagina has a natural bacterial balance. Certain species of bacteria could and should be there naturally, but when the balance is thrown off or a new type of bacteria is introduced to the vagina. One of the most common resulting symptoms is a condition known as bacterial vaginosis.
This condition is usually caused by a growth in a specific strain of bacteria that is normally present in the vagina. This strain is known as Gardnerella vaginalis and is specific to the vagina. Some of these bacteria are normal, but it is usually balanced out by a certain number of other microbes. If it grows out of control, then that can lead to bacterial vaginosis.
Sometimes this condition results from the introduction of foreign bacteria strains, such as during sexual intercourse. Even normal, otherwise healthy actions can throw the balance off. Things like douching can alter the balance.
Let’s take a look at 8 common symptoms.
1. Discharge That Smells
A certain amount of vaginal discharge is entirely normal, especially if it is after the completion of a cycle. Chances are that you are familiar with normal discharge, but if you notice anything out of the ordinary, that can be a sign that something isn’t right and additional medical attention might be required.
One major sign that something might not be right is an unusual odor. One smell that might indicate an imbalance in your natural bacteria colonies is a fish-like smell. Fishy smells can be caused by a lot of different issues, but if the discharge itself has a marine odor then that can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis.
It’s important not to take a symptom such as this as a reason to self diagnose. It’s the combination of factors that can aid your self-diagnosis of this condition. With that said, an odorous discharge can be a starting point.