Living with a vagina means taking care of it — a task that, thanks to years of taboo and stigma, may be easier said than done. One thing people with vaginas can run into is managing the delicate balance of bacteria that live in the vagina. That bacteria is typically a good thing, but if the balance is thrown off, it can lead to bacterial vaginosis (BV), a kind of inflammation. Bacterial vaginosis is typically treated with topical creams or an oral antibiotic, according to the Mayo Clinic but some people find that bacterial vaginosis may be recurrent, or hard to get rid of.
"Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina," Dr. Kamilah Dixon-Shambley, an OB/GYN at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Bustle. It can cause symptoms like a thin discharge and burning while peeing, but up to 50% of people who have it don't get any symptoms at all.
If you tend to get BV repeatedly after your first infection, you shouldn't panic, says Dr. Valerie Fabre, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. "Recurrence of symptoms despite treatment is quite common," she tells Bustle. However, if you're experiencing BV that hasn't cleared up or won't stop coming back, experts tell Bustle it could be time to examine how you're treating it and other habits that can affect your vaginal flora.