Bacterial vaginosis (BV) can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
There's currently no evidence that probiotics, such as those found in some yoghurts, are able to treat or prevent BV.
Metronidazole is the most common and preferred Penicillin treatment for BV. It's available in three forms. These are:
In most cases, metronidazole tablets taken over five to seven days are recommended, as they're considered to be the most effective treatment. These can be taken if you have symptoms of BV while you're pregnant.
If you're breastfeeding, metronidazole gel is usually recommended, as the tablets can affect your breast milk.
Occasionally, an alternative antibiotic may be recommended instead of metronidazole, such as clindamycin cream applied to the inside of the vagina once a day for seven days. This cream may be prescribed if you've had a reaction to metronidazole in the past, for example.
Whichever course of antibiotics you're prescribed, it's important to finish it, even if you start to feel better. This helps to reduce the risk of symptoms persisting or recurring.
Metronidazole can cause nausea, vomiting and a slight metallic taste in your mouth. It's best to take it after eating food. Contact your doctor if you start vomiting when you take the drug. They may recommend trying an alternative form of treatment.
Don't drink alcohol while taking metronidazole and for at least 48 hours after finishing the course of antibiotics. Drinking alcohol while taking this medicine can cause more severe side effects.
For some women, the first course of treatment doesn't treat BV effectively.
If your initial treatment has been unsuccessful, your doctor will need to check you took the medicine correctly. If you did, you may be prescribed one of the different options described above.
If you have an intrauterine device (IUD) that may be contributing to your BV,your doctormay recommend having it removed and using an alternative form of contraception .
Vaginal pH correction treatments are a relatively new way of treating BV. These usually involve applying a gel to the inside of your vagina that changes the acid balance, making it a less hospitable environment for harmful bacteria. Most vaginal pH correction treatments are available over the counter from pharmacists.
However, it's not clear how effective these treatments are for treating BV. Some studies have suggested they may help, whereas others suggest they're either ineffective or less effective than antibiotics.
If you have repeated episodes of BV in a short space of time, your GP may refer youto a genitourinary medicine (GUM) specialist for further investigation and treatment.
If you're pregnant, you may be referred to your midwife or obstetrician (a specialist in pregnancies), who can discuss treatment options with you.
Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease, and some are good for you.
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
STIs are diseases passed on through intimate sexual contact, such as vaginal, oral or anal sex.
The vagina is a tube of muscle that runs from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vulva (the external sexual organs).
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common yet poorly understood condition, in which the balance of bacteria inside the vagina becomes disrupted. BAround half of women with bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) occurs when there's a change in the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. Women with BV tend to have a temporary shortage of lactobacilli, which means their vagina isn't as acidic as it should be.
See your GP or visit a sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic as soon as possible if you have any abnormal discharge from your vagina. It's important to determine whether you have bacterial vaginosis (BV) or a similar condition.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) can be treated successfully with antibiotics. There's currently no evidence that probiotics, such as those found in some yoghurts, are able to treat or prevent BV.
For the vast majority of women, bacterial vaginosis (BV) is easily treated and doesn't cause any further problems. However, if the condition isn't treated, there's a small risk you may develop complications.
Helen had two episodes of bacterial vaginosis (BV) a few months apart. Now that she's been given the all-clear, she wants to encourage other women to seek treatment.