Weird Sex Problem of the Day: Bacterial Vaginosis

Women's health issues (read: vagina problems) are super common, but no one likes to talk about them. We're ending the silence and discussing the smellier problem of the bunch: bacterial vaginosis.

What is it?
As any yogurt lover can tell you, there are good and bad types of bacteria. Your vag contains both. Like the perfect PB&J, you need this bacteria to be 50/50—half good, half bad. When the nasty outnumbers the nice, you're in trouble.

What does it—gulp—look like?
Baceterial vaginosis is usually characterized by, ahem, unusual discharge. For starters, it doesn't look normal: instead, it's odd in color (grayish, milky or yellow) and the consistency deviates from your normal. Then there's the scent. Women afflicted by bacterial vaginosis claim they smell "fishy" down there, especially after sex. Many also report feeling itchy. Blushing from this discharge talk yet? Well, whether or not you're willing to admit it, you probably have a good idea of what your normal discharge looks and smells like. If not, it's time to get acquainted.

What does it mean?
Usually it's not serious and clears up itself. Sometimes it leads to more serious issues, like pelvic inflammatory disease or pregnancy issues (if you're already expecting). It's important to know your body's various perfumes and stinks—when something is off, you'll be able to catch it more quickly. Especially down there. Why? Odd, smelly discharge is also the symptom of various STIs—not just bacterial vaginosis—so you should prepare yourself the moment you notice something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

How can I prevent it?
For the love of Aphrodite, keep your vagina in breathable fabrics as often as possible. Unless you're going backpacking, wear cotton undies! When it's hot, ditch tights and nylons. And, for that matter? Ultra tight pants in general are a general vaginal no-no. Sadder still? Doctors say that, for some reason, having fewer sex partners at one time also helps decrease your risk. Even better? Don't have sex. Or, um, if that doesn't sound like you—the horror!—just practice safe sex. Best of all, get regular pelvic exams and call your doctor if you notice any weird symptoms.

Image: Stinky! But solvable. Courtesy of, ThinkStock []

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