Can Bacterial Vaginosis Cause Bleeding?

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It is uncommon for bacterial vaginosis (BV) to cause bleeding, but it is possible to experience some spotting.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal inflammation that is caused by bacteria overgrowth. Bacteria is naturally found in the vagina, but when there is an overgrowth, it causes an imbalance in the pH levels which leads to BV. Though women of all ages can develop BV, it primarily affects women in their reproductive years.

Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis

Not all cases of bacterial vaginosis show any signs or symptoms. For those who do, however, some common symptoms include:

  • Gray, white or green vaginal discharge
  • Foul smelling vaginal odor
  • Itching and burning sensation

Bacterial vaginosis can arise in women who are sexually active or not, however it shows up more commonly for women that are having sex. However, it is not a sexually transmitted disease – rather, the bacteria of your vagina is more likely to be altered after having sex with someone new.

Additionally, douching, taking a bubble bath, or using products to make your vagina smell “better” often cause BV, as they are likely to affect the pH of your vagina.

You can find out if you have BV by taking an at-home test, or seeing your doctor, who will test the pH levels of your vagina discharge.

Spotting

A small amount of spotting between periods, or leading up to your period, is normal. Usually light spotting here and there is not a huge cause for concern, or a sign of other issues.

It is relatively uncommon for bacterial vaginosis to cause bleeding, but it is possible. You may notice a small amount of spotting when experiencing BV. However, if you are spotting more regularly, or are experiencing heavier bleeding, you will want to speak to your doctor.

Sores

Unlike thrush, also known as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis does not cause sores to form on its own. Sexually transmitted infections, such as genital herpes or syphilis, may also be responsible for developing sores.

Since BV can cause a certain level of discomfort and itching, though, it can be possible to cause small cuts from scratching. If you are experiencing itching from BV, be sure to wear cotton underwear, which allows your vagina to breathe and helps to reduce that itchy feeling.

Heavy Bleeding

Bacterial vaginosis does not cause heavy bleeding, but it is often more present and noticeable when you are on your period.

If you have BV, and are experiencing heavy bleeding outside your period, speak to your doctor immediately.

Other Causes

A small amount of bleeding when you have bacterial vaginosis is not common, but it can happen. If you are noticing spotting while you have BV, you likely have nothing to worry about.

Sores, or more severe bleeding outside of your period, are likely caused by something besides BV. Some potential causes of sores or vaginal bleeding include:

  • STIs like syphilis or genital herpes
  • Cervicitis, an infection of the cervix
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Hormonal imbalances, such as issues with the thyroid gland, can cause bleeding between periods

Prevention

Bacterial vaginosis can affect women at any time in their lives, but there are a few ways to reduce the possibility of getting BV. Be sure to avoid douching and use of perfumed products near your vagina. You do not need to clean your vagina with certain products – regular bathing is enough!

If you experience BV on a recurring basis, talk to your doctor about a potential probiotic plan that will help to balance your vagina’s pH better.

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