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How do cystitis and bacterial vaginosis differ?

Is there a difference between cystitis and bacterial vaginosis? I'm 32 and I've had bacterial vaginosis on several occasions before, and I've always gotten rid of it pretty easily. Now I'm having painful urination and other problems, and my doctor described cystitis - which sounded exactly the same. Is it?
Urinary and vaginal symptoms are quite common in younger women. Fortunately, most of these are not medically serious although some of them do require medical attention. The doctors who are well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor or your OB / GYN doctor. Bacterial vaginosis is a condition caused by overgrowth of bacteria living in the vagina. The symptoms of this condition can include itching, pain, vaginal drainage and odor. Sometimes the condition can be treated simply with hygiene or by taking probiotics. However, other times it may require medications prescribed by your doctor. Cystitis on the other hand, or a urinary tract infection, is caused by bacteria living inside the urine and bladder. This condition is characterized by pain when urinating, frequent urination, and bladder cramping, and sometimes blood in the urine. The condition generally is not serious, but it usually does require a prescription of oral antibiotics as determined by your doctor. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your OB / GYN doctor or your primary care doctor may be indicated.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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