Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment
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—Elaine, 9th May 2022
Bacterial Vaginosis Treatments That We Can Provide
We issue prescriptions for generic name medicines to ensure maximum availability of treatments. Please check your dispensed prescription before leaving the Pharmacy as no changes can be made after that point.
- Oral Antibiotics (Tablets)
- Vaginal Antibiotic Cream
How It Works
Important Medical Information
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
What causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Having multiple sexual partners.
- Use of sex toys.
- Regular vaginal washing/ douching.
- Vaginal bleeding (prolonged or heavy periods).
- Having a sexually transmitted infection.
- Oral Sex.
- Hormonal changes eg puberty, pregnancy, menopause.
- Following antibiotic treatment.
Is Bacterial Vaginosis a sexually transmitted infection?
Bacterial Vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection. You cannot pass BV to a male partner, as men are not affected by it. However, you can pass it on to female sexual partners.
What are the most common Bacterial Vaginosis symptoms?
When symptoms are present, vaginal discharge is the most common (a thin white/ grey discharge with a ‘fishy’ odour). The discharge is usually heavier after sex or your period and the odour is often more noticeable during sex.
It does not usually cause itching/ soreness around the vagina, but can occasionally if the discharge is very heavy.
BV does not cause vaginal bleeding or significant pain. If you develop these symptoms and have vaginal discharge, you should arrange an urgent face-to-face medical examination.
Who is this service suitable for?
This service is suitable for you if:
- You are female.
- You are 17 years of age or older.
- You have a previously confirmed diagnosis of Bacterial Vaginosis by a doctor and you are experiencing similar symptoms.
Who is this service unsuitable for?
This service is not suitable for you if:
- You are under 17 years of age.
- You are male.
- You have not had a diagnosis and treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis by a doctor before.
- You are having recurrent episodes of Bacterial Vaginosis (more than 4 in the past year).
- You are pregnant/ trying to conceive or breastfeeding.
- You have the following symptoms:
- Bleeding between periods or after sex.
- Pain when passing urine, or increased urinary frequency.
- Blisters or a rash on the skin of the vagina.
- Unexplained lower abdominal pain for the past 48 hours.
- Concerned you may have a sexually transmitted infection or have coloured/ green or odorous vaginal discharge.
- High temperature/ malaise.
- You have a diagnosis or symptoms of vaginal thrush.
Please note: we are only able to issue prescriptions for certain medications via this service. If you would like more information on this, please contact our team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What do I do if I am unsure if I have BV or Thrush?
Bacterial Vaginosis can sometimes be confused with vaginal candida /thrush infection. Vaginal candida/ thrush is a fungal infection and typically causes a thick, white discharge with itching/ irritation around the vagina/ vulva. The treatment for thrush is very different to Bacterial Vaginosis treatment.
It can sometimes be difficult to know if you have Bacterial Vaginosis or genital candida/ thrush. If you are unsure, we suggest arranging an online GP video consultation with one of our doctors or an appointment with your local GP.
If you have been diagnosed with vaginal candida/ thrush in the past and you currently have similar symptoms, you can avail of our Genital Thrush Online Repeat Prescription Service.
Is treatment always necessary for Bacterial Vaginosis?
However, sometimes prescription medication is necessary.
What Bacterial Vaginosis treatments can you provide?
How do I take these treatments?
The vaginal cream is inserted into the vagina using an applicator every night for one week.
It is important to complete the course of treatment you have been prescribed, even if your symptoms have resolved.
Can Bacterial Vaginosis return after treatment?
BV does recur. Using treatments such as Relactogel from the pharmacy after completing your course of prescription medication helps maintain the acid balance in the vagina, reducing the likelihood of bacterial vaginosis recurring.
What are the potential side effects of these medications?
Common side effects of the oral antibiotic prescribed include nausea, decreased appetite and a metallic taste in your mouth.
It is essential that you avoid alcohol completely when you are taking this medication and for 72 hours after you finish the treatment. There is a significant interaction between this medication and alcohol and you will experience a severe reaction (vomiting, palpitations and severe headache).
Associated side effects with vaginal antibiotic cream include vaginal irritation/ itching and vaginal thrush/ discharge. Occasionally abdominal cramps and diarrhoea may occur.
Please note, this cream will damage latex condoms and diaphragms and these cannot be relied upon to prevent pregnancy or protect against STIs during treatment and for up to 5 days after.
For full details on potential side effects, please ensure that you read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication before you start to use it.
If you are concerned that you are developing side effects, we advise that you stop your medication and seek medical advice.
Important safety information
Bacterial Vaginosis can lead to complications if you are pregnant or trying to conceive and a face-to-face medical assessment is essential at these times.
If you are breastfeeding please arrange a GP video consultation or speak with your local doctor as a more detailed clinical assessment is required than can be arranged via this service.
When completing the questionnaire, please ensure you let us know exactly what medications you are taking (prescribed and over-the-counter) to enable us to prescribe safely and avoid potential drug interactions.
If you are having recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis (4 or more episodes in one year), you should arrange an in-person doctor review for assessment. This service is not suitable for the ongoing management of recurrent episodes.
For more information on Bacterial Vaginosis click on the link below: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) – sexualwellbeing.ie
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