Your final treatment will be decided by our prescribers based on your medical assessment. You will be asked to select a treatment option from a list after completion of your medical assessment.
Bacterial vaginosis is caused when there is an imbalance to your vagina’s PH, usually from an overgrowth of certain bacteria. Normally acidic, the vagina is very adept at maintaining its level of good bacteria which is known as lactobacillus; however, due to changes affecting this balance caused by any number of factors including menstruation, semen, antibiotics or over washing, the PH can become less acidic allowing the growth of anaerobic organisms to replace the lactobacillus. The result of this change is often bacterial vaginosis or BV.
Though around 50% of women experience no symptoms at all, those who do may notice a change in their discharge as it can become thinner and white or grey. There may also be a stronger smell, especially after sex. There is rarely any pain or itchiness with BV but if you notice the above changes to your vaginal health or any other new symptoms then it is wise to get checked as soon as possible.
It is also important to note that though BV is not a sexually transmitted infection though it can increase your risk of catching one, such as chlamydia.
There is a range of different treatments for BV including tablets, creams and gels and you will be prescribed the most appropriate form for your situation. They are all considered to be effective at treating bacterial vaginosis, some in as little as 2 days, though the medication should be continued to completion to stop the infection from reoccurring.
The creams which are inserted directly into the vagina, usually each night for up to 2 weeks, are preferable for patients who may be taking other medication which would not mix well with an antibiotic tablet, or for anyone who struggles to swallow pills. Also, due to the medication being absorbed through the skin and not through going through the digestive system first, there can be fewer side effects.
Antibiotic tablets are also a highly effective form of treatment for infections including BV. They can help the body fight back quickly, enabling your immunity to kick in and destroy any remaining bacteria with over 90% of women showing no further BV symptoms after this treatment.
Safety is paramount when you are being prescribed any new form of medication and your doctor will ensure that you are given the safest form of treatment for your situation. You will be prompted to fill in a medical questionnaire before your prescription can be approved which will discuss any other health issues you have or other forms of medication, including herbal supplements, you presently take. This information, alongside your other answers including your age and the symptoms you are suffering from, will enable our in-house doctors to prescribe you the safest form of treatment whether that is a cream or tablet.
The Zidoval gel is an antibiotic treatment to be applied using an applicator usually once a day at bedtime for 5 days. This form of treatment has been found in studies to be up to 90% successful in stopping the bacteria which is causing the BV from being able to replicate and reproduce any further.
Dalacin cream is also an antibiotic which is usually prescribed for up to 7 days though has been found to be effective in as little as 3 days in cases where the use of an antibiotic is less than favourable, such as during pregnancy. It stops the production of the proteins needed by the bacteria to carry on breeding and in turn, can ease symptoms quickly and effectively.
Metronidazole tablets have been used for nearly 50 years to help patients heal a wide variety of infections including BV and can begin to clear up symptoms from 2 days.
Treatments can be purchased online from Click Pharmacy to save you booking and going to an appointment with your GP. You can also arrange an online, confidential appointment if you have any questions about your treatment.
To purchase your medication online you will be required to fill in a questionnaire about your current health situation. Once you have been approved for your chosen BV medication by one of our in-house doctors you can purchase it and it will be sent to you discreetly and quickly to your chosen address.
Side effects can occur with any medication and whether or not you experience them is entirely based on the your ability to tolerate the drug being taken. Some women may experience one or several issues from taking or using these treatments whereas others may have no problems at all and our doctors prescribing the medication will look to prescribe you the treatment with the lowest risk to you.
The side effects with antibiotics are usually mild, especially when applied topically as a cream or gel rather than taken orally as a tablet because much less of the drug goes into the system this way. The tablet form of the treatment could cause a stomach upset whereas the creams or gels can potentially cause symptoms such as thrush due to the introduction of the medication causing an imbalance to the PH levels within the vagina. It is important to remember that, despite possible side effects, it is not recommended you leave a health issue unchecked and if you have any concerns about potential side effects of medication, you can book a free, confidential appointment online with our doctors at any time to discuss this and put your mind at ease.
The vagina naturally has a moderately acidic pH (between 3.8-5.0) due to the presence of a bacteria called lactobacilli. The acidic environment is essential as it prevents other bacteria from growing in the vagina and causing infections. An off-balance in the vaginal pH leads to bacterial vaginosis (BV), urinary tract infections (UTIs) and/or yeast infections.
We do not quite know what causes this off-balance, but certain risk factors include:
Many people think that bacterial vaginosis is an STI which is incorrect. Women who are not sexually active may also get BV. Another thing to remember is that you cannot contract BV from a partner.
Bacterial vaginosis is, however, more common in women who are sexually active with multiple partners, and therefore, practising safe sex reduces the risk of getting BV. Besides sexual activity, other factors, such as ethnicity, are also associated with a higher risk of infection.
The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis can be similar to the symptoms of STIs such as trichomonas and gonorrhoea. Therefore, the first case should be diagnosed by a GP to rule out infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and thrush. Recurrent infections can be self-diagnosed if your symptoms are the exact same as in the previous case, but a doctor should examine it to treat the underlying cause appropriately.
Your GP will look for a thin, white, grey, or green discharge and a fishy vaginal odour, which should be enough to diagnose BV in most cases.
They will also ask you questions about any previous STIs or vaginal infections. For further testing, the GP might collect a sample of vaginal discharge to examine under a microscope and identify vaginal cells covered with harmful bacteria.
Another method of diagnosis is checking the pH of your vagina using a pH strip. A value of 4.5 or above is a sign of BV.
Since we do not entirely understand the causes of bacterial vaginosis, preventing it can be a little tricky. Practising some self-help can, however, lower your risk of contracting BV by helping you maintain the natural bacterial balance of your vagina. Some tips include:
Yes, BV can clear up on its own, but if you have symptoms, treatment is necessary. However, in women who have no symptoms of BV, treatment is usually not required.
Last reviewed 11 April 2023
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