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Treatment for bacterial vaginosis (BV)

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Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, is a common condition that affects the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, sometimes causing smelly discharge – to learn more about why it happens and its symptoms, read this guide: Bacterial vaginosis. Otherwise, read on to find out how to treat it.

How to get rid of BV

The NHS advises that if you’re experiencing the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, you should see your GP or go to a sexual health clinic. The standard treatment for BV is antibiotics, which is normally given as a tablet or as a cream or gel to apply to your vagina.

Is there a cure for BV?

BV can be easily diagnosed and treated with antibiotics. However, once the infection has been treated and cleared you may get BV again – previously having BV treatment doesn’t make you immune.

The good news is, there are precautions you can take to lower your chances of getting the infection in the future. These will also help to relieve any current symptoms that you may be experiencing.

How to lower your risk of developing bacterial vaginosis:

  • Shower instead of having baths – don’t fill your baths with bubbles or gels
  • Don’t use perfumed soaps or gels to wash your vagina
  • Avoid douching
  • Wash your underwear in sensitive detergent
  • Wear cotton underwear

Making sure you’re practising good feminine hygiene as well as eating a healthy balanced diet will help to support the good bacteria in your body. These good bacteria will be able to keep any bad bacteria in check, allowing your vagina to maintain its ideal pH level.

Can BV go away without treatment?

If your body can restore its own pH balance, occasionally BV will go away on its own. If your symptoms are affecting your daily life and causing you discomfort you should talk to your GP, pharmacist or a nurse at your local sexual health clinic. They will be able to offer advice and BV treatment options.

Is BV dangerous during pregnancy?

Yes, BV can be riskier for pregnant women, as it’s thought to increase your risk of complications like premature birth and miscarriage. For this reason, it’s really important to speak to your midwife or GP if you notice a change to your vaginal discharge, especially if it becomes very smelly.

Who can get BV?

Bacterial vaginosis is a common infection that can affect women and girls at any age. However, you’re more likely to get BV if you’re sexually active, if you douche or wash your vagina with perfumed products, or if you have an IUD (copper coil).

Can I pass bacterial vaginosis to my partner?

If your partner is male you won’t be able to pass bacterial vaginosis (BV) to them through sex, as men can’t catch it. However, if your sexual partner is female you can pass BV to them and they can pass BV to you.

How will I know if I have BV?

BV doesn’t always have symptoms but it can cause thin, greyish discharge that smells very strong and fishy. To find out more about the signs of BV visit our symptoms page.

Can I get a prescription for BV?

Yes, you can get a prescription for antibiotics to treat your BV symptoms if deemed appropriate by your GP. If you experience recurring BV you may need a repeat prescription from your GP.

If you’d like your prescription delivered to your home we can help with our free prescription delivery service – LloydsDirect by LloydsPharmacy.