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National BV Day for Women 16 April PDF Print Email

Women across the UK are being encouraged to put taboos to one side on Tuesday 16th April and talk openly about intimate health as part of this year's National BV Day.


The event wants to raise awareness of a common, but little known, vaginal condition that causes misery to millions of women in the UK.


Bacterial Vaginosis, or BV as it's more commonly known, affects one in three women, is twice as prevalent as thrush and is the most widespread cause of abnormal vaginal discharge. Crucially, because very few women know about BV, its symptoms are often confused with thrush and many women wrongly treat the condition as such.


The condition causes distress to millions because of the unpleasantness of its symptoms; primarily a grey-white discharge and a strong fishy odour. These symptoms cause extreme embarrassment, discomfort and stress to the women suffering from them, and if left untreated can even lead to an increased risk of contracting STIs, including HIV, Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. If undetected in pregnant women, BV can lead to premature birth and even miscarriage.


As part of National BV Day women will be able to access online videos featuring Dr Dawn Harper who will explain the key symptoms of BV to look out for and how these can be treated quickly and easily at home. The videos will also explain that BV is not a sexually transmitted disease and is not linked to poor hygiene, but is in fact a condition triggered by changes in the pH balance of the vagina.


Integral to the National BV Day campaign will be a call to women to speak more freely about intimate health and any issues they have experienced. As part of this a number of women who have been faced with the emotional stress, low self esteem and alarming consequences so often associated with BV will share their insights and feelings about their own ordeals. Counter staff from the UK's  pharmacists will be on standby to offer confidential advice to other women who think they have, or have had, the condition and who want to talk about their concerns.


The awareness day, which had its inaugural launch last year, is lead by Balance Activ, which provides simple and effective solutions for preventing and treating the symptoms of BV. Their clinically proven products, which are available without prescription, contain Lactic Acid, which restores the normal pH of the vagina to eliminate odour, and Glycogen, which promotes the growth of good bacteria.


The advice below provides some simple measures that women can take to help maintain the natural pH balance of the vagina and avoid BV.

  • Avoid using perfumed intimate products as these can disrupt the natural vaginal balance
  • Avoid excessive washing (or douching) of the vagina as this may alter the normal balance of bacteria, making symptoms of BV more likely to develop
  • Use a condom if you notice that sexual intercourse promotes symptoms. Semen is alkaline and can alter the natural pH of the vagina

If you are concerned about any of the issues associated with BV or would like to discuss anything in confidence your local pharmacist is available and will probably stock a range of products that may help.