Bacterial vaginosis is a condition caused by bacteria. It is treated with antibiotics, which can either be taken as tablets or inserted into the vagina in the form of a cream or gel.
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Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is very common and it affects women of all ages. It occurs when the natural balance in your vagina is disturbed. Numerous types of bacteria naturally live in the vagina without causing harm or symptoms. If one type multiplies to an unusual extent, this can cause bacterial vaginosis.
BV is the most common cause of unusual discharge from the vagina. It is not uncommon for women to have BV and not notice it, as it does not necessarily cause any symptoms. If you do not have any symptoms, you do not need to worry about whether or not you have it.
Who can get bacterial vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis can affect any woman and it is not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease.
You have a higher risk of developing it if you:
- have multiple sexual partners
- use scented baths and soaps
- use vaginal deodorant
- wash inside the vagina
- are using a contraceptive coil
- do not use a condom during sex
- are a smoker
Some women experience recurrent bouts of BV and need a second round of treatment to cure the condition.
You are less likely to get BV if you:
- are on the contraceptive pill
- use condoms every time you have sex
- are with a partner who is circumcised
If you have had unprotected sex with a new partner or multiple partners you should take an STI test before considering treatment for BV. This is because several STIs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea, can cause very similar symptoms as bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is treated with a short course of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill the bacteria which cause BV.
You can choose between three different antibiotic treatments for bacterial vaginosis:
Metronidazole tablets are taken by mouth, whereas the cream and gel treatments need to be inserted into the vagina using an applicator provided with the medication.
It is important that you do not drink alcohol while undergoing treatment with metronidazole. This goes for the cream or gel as well as the tablets.
Please note, that clindamycin cream can weaken barrier contraceptives, for example condoms and diaphragms.
Most women who have bacterial vaginosis (BV) don’t encounter any symptoms. You don’t need to worry about BV if you do not have any symptoms as the condition is not dangerous and usually clears by itself.
The most common symptom of bacterial vaginosis is a grey or white discharge, which often has a characteristic fishy smell.
BV does not cause pain or itching. If you experience a burning sensation while urinating, or any other kind of discomfort, you are probably suffering from a condition other than bacterial vaginosis. Infections which can cause similar symptoms include thrush (also known as a yeast infection) and the sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia and gonorrhea.