Treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis

For some women, bacterial vaginosis (BV) clears up without any treatment, while others must address their symptoms with a doctor-approved method. Antibiotic treatments taken orally or vaginally are seen as the most effective methods for fighting BV. While bacterial vaginosis usually clears up in 2 to 3 days with antibiotics, you must continue treatment for the full 7 days. This will also decrease your chances of suffering a recurrence of the condition.

Effective Treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis

A doctor may choose from a handful of antibiotics to treat your BV symptoms, which include:

• Metronidazole – in oral pill form (Flagyl) or with a vaginal metronidazole gel (Metrogel)
• Clindamycin – as a vaginal cream (Cleocin)
• Tinidazole – in tablet form (Tindamax)

To balance vaginal pH associated with bacterial vaginosis, using products that acidify the body, such as Aci-Jel, has proven to prevent and treat BV on a limited basis.

It is important to note that despite the use of antibiotics to treat bacterial vaginosis, the condition can recur at any time [1].

Importance of Treatment for Pregnant Women

Not all women should wait for a case of bacterial vaginosis to clear up on its own. Pregnant women who have experienced a premature delivery or have given birth to a baby with low birth weight should consider a BV examination for future pregnancies – regardless of symptoms. Immediate screening and treatment is recommended to avoid the potential complications that can affect an expectant mother. Bacterial vaginosis can cause early labor, miscarriages, other infections, and additional problems for mother and baby.

Pregnant women can be treated with metronidazole or clindamycin, but the recommended dosages and forms will differ. For example, a doctor will avoid prescribing a vaginal treatment for a pregnant woman.

Other Treatment Factors

Women who are undergoing a hysterectomy or abortion should also be treated for bacterial vaginosis prior to their procedure (regardless of symptoms) to reduce the risk of developing a post-surgery infection.

Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment Concerns

If you use antibiotics to treat your bacterial vaginosis, there is a range of medical concerns and side effects that you should become aware of, such as:

a) Interaction with Alcohol:

If you are taking metronidazole or tinidazole to treat BV, you should know that mixing alcohol with the drugs can cause severe nausea and vomiting. This also includes taking other over-the-counter medications that contain alcohol, such as NyQuil. Even the small amount of alcohol found in many cough syrups can cause nausea and vomiting if you are prescribed metronidazole [2].

b) Birth Control Use:

Physical methods of birth control, such as condoms and diaphragms, can become compromised if you use a vaginal treatment for bacterial vaginosis. For example, the oil in clindamycin cream and ovules (capsules) can weaken latex. As a result, your risk increases for contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or becoming pregnant.

c) Side Effects:

There is always the potential of experiencing side effects when taking an antibiotic for bacterial vaginosis. For instance, the oral form of metronidazole (seen as one of the most effective lines of treatment) is known to produce a few minor yet unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, and nausea. Tinidazole (Tindamax) is a bacterial vaginosis antibiotic that seems to produce fewer side effects than metronidazole.

d) Yeast Infection:

Some antibiotics have a reputation for causing a vaginal yeast infection that brings on itching, redness, and a lumpy, white discharge [3]. Gel treatments for BV do not typically cause side effects, but some women report yeast vaginitis as a side effect of the medication.

Resources
[1] http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm
[2] http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/women/reproductive/vaginal/234.html
[3] http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/tc/bacterial-vaginosis-topic-overview?page=2

9 Responses to “Treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis”

  1. Ashley
    August 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    I’ve had bv like 12 times I swear within a yr I know when it comes back right away I get it treated and it goes away but I’ve tried everything from changing my diet , clothes, wearing only cotton underwear to obstaining from sex completly and it just keeps coming back I went to many speacialist and they can’t give me a new answer I haven’t already heard I just recently got rid of it once again itz a pain in the ass excuse my language I’m just fid up with it I DONT want it reoccuring AGAIN so I started to take rephresh pro-b pills 30$ for 30 pills crazy but I hope this will really help maintain a normal ph balance for me … Please help me with some information so that I won’t get it again thank you

  2. Lynn
    January 15, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    BV is actually more common than a yeast infection. Sadly, many women are not educated about it – including myself, until just recently. I was given boric acid capsules to use each night for 14 nights. It’s gone along with the yeast infection that I had at the same time. My specialist told me that anytime one or the other (yeast or bacteria) appears, the other comes out to fight it off so you can often end up with both….boric acid eliminated both for me. I have obstained from unsafe sex and will continue to do so for a long time. The obdominal discomfort from having both infecctions really took a toll on my body and it needs to rest. If I do engage in sex again, I will insist on condoms and if needed, will only use Vagisil brand lubricant which was suggested by my specialist. See if you can be prescribed boric acid, get rid of both infections, your ph will be fine….and once you get the news that you are totally fine again, proceed with what you feel is best for you. I’m in my mid 40’s and have decided I’ll do all I can do maintain a yeast and bacteria free vagina.

    • Danielle
      March 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      What state do you live in? I live in ohio and im going to ask about bpric acid capsules for bv im tired of the symptoms of this now

  3. miss mimi
    February 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    i’ve heard that if you get bv, you’re more likely to have re-occuring cases. i think you should get tested for Trichomonas. it’s also a bacterial infection. if you have this, metronidazole (generic version of flagyl) will be prescribed. and if this is the case, you might get rid of the bv for good. good luck. i know how annoying & frustrating it is.

  4. Why Does My Vagina Smell
    March 8, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Bacterial Vaginosis also called Bacterial Vaginitis is the highest cause of embarassing conditions as vaginal odor and itching. About one out of three women will get affected by BV at some point in their life. You can go to http://www.whydoesmyvaginasmell.org and take a quiz to find out if you have BV.

  5. Pamela
    July 27, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    Its best to use natural remedies to cure BV infection. Iv’e had it serveral times over a 2 year period and taking medications that did’nt work. Natural remedies and treatments work best.

  6. Elena
    May 27, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Is it safe to take clindamycin while I’m trying to conceive?

  7. Jules
    June 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Hello BV Community,
    I’m 41 y/o and have had BV on and off my whole adult life. I would go years without a sign or symptom and then I would have it for months on end. The last two years, BV has been my miserable friend. The only solution physicians have given me was to take Metronidazole, orally and vaginally. This solves BV for short term but does not help with the recurrence. In addition, the medications are very harsh on the body and end up killing all the good bacteria with the bad. This causes more imbalance in our bacteria and seems to perpetuate the vicious cycle.

    This past March, I decided to research home remedies for BV. I was completely frustrated with the solutions or nonsolutions the gynecologists kept feeding me. I have read quite a bit on this website and other similar sites. YouTube has some interesting items and of course there are the manuals you can buy.

    I can tell you what DIDN’T work for me:

    Yogurt-I tried treating myself with one applicatorful (using an applicator from my MetroGel package)at bedtime for seven nites. This felt good and alleviated the symptoms for the seven nites but the BV reappeared. I tried two applicatorfuls for 3 nites and this also alleviated symptoms but the BV reappeared.
    Apple Cider Vinegar-I watched a YouTube Video with a natural remedy physician, on how to make frozen suppositories with the ACV. I tried the ACV suppositories for seven nites. (This actually was a bit painful due to the suppository being frozen-ice does not feel good in the heat of the body)The symptoms again were alleviated but the BV returned.

    During these two experiments, I was taking garlic capsules, folic acid, and Kefir.

    The treatment THAT WORKED FOR ME and I hope it works for others.
    I used hydrogen peroxide and organic cranberry juice (NO COCKTAIL-HAS TO BE ORGANIC).
    First nite, I soaked a tampon in hydrogen peroxide and inserted at bedtime. During the nite, I removed when I woke up to urinate.
    The next three nites I soaked a tampon in the organic cranberry juice and inserted at bedtime and again removed when I woke up in the middle of the nite to urinate.
    The 5th nite I soaked a tampon in hydrogen peroxide and inserted at bedtime. Removed during the nite.
    I was still drinking the Kefir, which has all the good vaginal bacteria needed for balance. I have also been keepin a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in my shower and wash my outer vaginal area with it. It does not burn or irritate. Its just a wash.

    I have not had a recurrence of BV since I performed my ritual of cranberry juice and hydrogen peroxide. I even had protected sex during this time frame and did not have a recurrence episode. I do not believe the BV will never return but I’m going to be proactive and use this treatment every few weeks to keep myself balanced. I feel good about this treatment as its natural and within my power to treat myself when necessary. As most of you know on this website, some of us have lived with the signs and symptoms for years. I wouldn’t suggest treating oneself if BV is something new or for the very young women (teenagers). If BV is something new, it would probably benefit to see a physician before self diagnosing. Or possibly buying a PH self testing kit before treating yourself with these home remedies. I wish all the ladies the best.

  8. Faith
    July 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    To prevent this from coming back, take a bath with boric acid a few times a week. The bacteria is in the entire body, not just the vagina. Open up some zinc capsules and add them to the bath water too, about six. Also get your vitamin D3 levels checked. Vitamin D3, not D2, controls viral and fungal load… Your numbers should be betwen 70 and 100, anything less you need to supplement with at least 10,000 iu Vitamin D3 til your levels get up there…then 5,000 after that. Some will require more in the winter month. Sunbathe without sunscreen to absorb vitamin D3, no cancer is not caused by the sun, it is fungal!

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