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Sexual Conditions Health Center

Bacterial Vaginosis - When To Call a Doctor

Bacterial vaginosis can be difficult to distinguish from other types of vaginal infection. Consider the following if you have any signs of vaginal infection.

Call your doctor immediately if you:

  • Develop lower belly pain and a fever higher than 101°F (38.33°C) along with a vaginal discharge.
  • Are pregnant and have symptoms of a vaginal infection.

Call your doctor for an appointment within 1 week if you:

  • Have an unusual vaginal discharge that has a foul odor, especially noticeable after sex.
  • Have unusual vaginal itching.
  • Have pain during sex or during urination.
  • Develop any other discomfort or discharge that may indicate a vaginal infection.

If you have not been diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis but you have symptoms that cause you concern, see:

Watchful waiting

It's generally recommended that you contact or see your doctor about vaginal symptoms. The only exception to this rule is when you are sure that your vaginal symptoms mean that you have a vaginal yeast infection. If you have had a yeast infection before and are sure that your problem is a yeast infection rather than bacterial vaginosis, you can consider home treatment with a nonprescription product to treat yeast infections. For more information, see the topic Vaginal Yeast Infections.

If your symptoms are due to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and not bacterial vaginosis, you may infect a sex partner if you delay treatment. You may also develop more serious complications of STIs such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

  • To prevent the spread of a possible infection, avoid sex. Wait until after you have seen your doctor.
  • Avoid douching.

Who to see

Doctors who can diagnose and treat bacterial vaginosis include:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 01, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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