STD Home > Bacterial Vaginosis Cause

The main cause of bacterial vaginosis is an imbalance in the bacteria that are normally present in the vagina. Factors that can contribute to the condition include having multiple sex partners, douching, not using a condom, or using an intrauterine device (IUD). While these factors don't technically cause the disease, they can make a woman more likely to develop it.

What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?

The bacterial vaginosis cause is not fully understood. Bacterial vaginosis is associated with an imbalance in the bacteria that are normally found in a woman's vagina. The vagina normally contains mostly "good" bacteria and fewer harmful bacteria. Bacterial vaginosis develops when there is an increase in the amount of harmful bacteria.

Know the Risks

Any woman can get bacterial vaginosis. However, some activities or behaviors can upset the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina and put women at increased risk, including:
  • Having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners
  • Douching
  • Not using a condom during sex
  • Using an intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception.
It is not clear what role sexual activity plays as a bacterial vaginosis cause. Women do not get bacterial vaginosis from toilet seats, bedding, swimming pools, or from touching objects around them. Women that have never had sexual intercourse are rarely affected.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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