STI's 2

bacterial vaginosis ,BV, tests & treatment

Bacterial vaginosis (BV), or gardnerella vaginalis, is a common infection of the vagina. It's harmless and easily treated. It's not classed as a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Discreet packaging with no mention of it's contents or where it's from. 

a common vaginal infection that can be very easily treated

What is Bacterial vaginosis (BV) ?

Bacterial vaginosis(BV), also known as gardnerella vaginalis, mainly affects sexually active women although it can be found in non-sexually active women who disturb the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina due to overuse of feminine hygiene products and heavily scented soaps. The infection is often symptomless but may cause an unpleasant smelling, greyish discharge in women. If left untreated there is a small risk that the infection can cause serious health complications such as miscarriage or pelvic inflammation.

A woman can pass it to another woman during sex but partners don't need treatment, unless female partners have symptoms.

Although men can test positive for BV as it can colonise in the urethra(the tube that leads from the bladder to the outside of the body) of men it doesn't produce any symptoms and there is no scientific evidence to show that men can pass it onto a partner. 

BV can be detected using our 7 in 1 test kit for men or women.

What is the treatment for BV?

BV can be very effectively treated with an antibiotic called metronidazole. It's usually taken twice a day for 5 to 7 days or, alternatively, can be taken as a single dose.

Metronidazole, generic name, is also known under the brand name Flagyl.

Metronidazole belongs to a class of antibiotics known as nitroimidazoles. It works by inhibiting bacterial DNA synthesis, preventing the replication of bacteria and protozoa and thereby stopping their growth. Then the body's own immune system can get rid of it.

How often do I take the treatment?

There is a choice of 2 doses :-

Metronidazole, 2g orally, in a single dose or Metronidazole 400mg twice a day for 5 days. Both treatments are equally effective but while the single dose is more convenient you are more likely to suffer from side effects; the most common being diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal pain.

Preferably, you should take the tablet(s) during or after a meal and they should be swallowed whole, not chewed or broken, with water.

You are advised not to drink any alcohol while taking your antibiotics and for at least 48 hours after finishing treatment. This is because the alcohol may cause the antibiotics to give you a severe headache, make you feel sick or produce palpitations. However, the antibiotics would still work if you get this reaction.

Medically reviewed by
Dr Kate Antrobus MBBS DFSRH MRCGP
30 July 2018

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