Bacterial vaginosis - also known as BV or gardnerella - is the most common type of vaginal infection in women, caused by a combination of different bacteria. It’s not directly transmitted through sexual intercourse, though it is more common in sexually active women.
If you leave bacterial vaginosis untreated, it can increase your risk of developing a uterus infection or contracting other STIs, as well as boosting the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease after major operations like an abortion or hysterectomy.
This infection is easily treated with a simple dose of antibiotics, which can be prescribed online by a registered doctor after you’ve completed a consultation.
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The typical symptoms of BV are often overlooked because they don’t usually cause any discomfort or pain. It’s the main reason why this vaginal infection often goes undetected and undiagnosed.
The most common symptom is abnormal white discharge, which may appear after sexual intercourse, and can have an unpleasant fish-like smell. Another way to tell if you have bacterial vaginosis is if your menstrual blood has a distinct odour.
There isn’t one single germ that causes bacterial vaginosis; it’s actually the result of an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. This overgrowth causes an increase in discharge that has an unpleasant smell because the natural balance of the vagina has been disturbed.
Other causes include using scented soaps or perfumed bubble bath, putting antiseptic liquids in the bath, douching, using vaginal deodorant or washing your underwear with strong detergents.
This type of vaginal infection is not caused by poor hygiene; in fact, washing your vagina excessively can alter the bacterial balance which can increase the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis.
If you leave this vaginal infection untreated, it can cause serious health complications and increase your risk of contracting STIs, including HIV. It can also cause complications during pregnancy and boost the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease after a hysterectomy or an abortion.
If you smoke, are in a same sex relationship or have recently changed sexual partners, your risk of developing this kind of infection is increased.
This vaginal infection is easily treated with antibiotics. Metronidazole is usually prescribed to treat bacterial vaginosis. It can be taken as a seven-day course or in a stronger dose that needs to be taken just once.
Both methods are effective, but taking the stronger antibiotic increases the chance that you’ll develop unwanted side effects. When taking antibiotics, it’s essential you complete the entire course, even if you feel healthy and your symptoms disappear, to ensure the vaginal infection is properly treated.
"Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal infection that can develop as a result of sexual intercourse. It mainly affects women and doesn't always cause symptoms."Dr Hilary Jones
HealthExpress Medical Advisor
Bacterial vaginosis can easily be treated with antibiotics. Metronidazole can be taken either as a 7-day course or as a stronger dose treatment, which only needs to be taken once. Both options work effectively to treat bacterial vaginosis, however, there is an increased risk of experiencing more mild side effects if you take a stronger antibiotic treatment. You should always take the full course of antibiotics, even if your symptoms of bacterial vaginosis disappear before you finish the course.
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If you have been diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis, you can click on the button below to start an online consultation. This allows our doctor to make an informed decision about which medication would be best for you, and write a prescription for you to buy it. This prescription will be sent to our pharmacy, which will dispense your medication and send it to you via free next-day delivery.