Any woman can contract bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common condition that occurs when the natural bacteria in your vagina gets out of balance. BV can put you at higher risk for contracting sexually transmitted disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Results from a nationally representative study indicate that BV affects 21.1 million women aged 14 to 49 in the United States. Here's what you need to know to help prevent and treat bacterial vaginosis.

What role does sexual activity play?

Sexual activity's role in the development of bacterial vaginosis is not fully understood by medical experts. Because it is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or disease (STD), it is possible, though rare, to get BV even if you've never engaged in sexual activity.

However, if you have or suspect you have BV, it's best to cease sexual activity until after you've completed treatment. Once the infection has been alleviated, the CDC