Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a very common condition in women having periods. It is not a sexually transmitted infection. Bacterial Vaginosis is caused by the overgrowth of normal germs in the vagina. This can change the normal vaginal discharge.

  • About 1 in 3 women have BV at some time in their lives.
  • Can be treated with Oral antibiotics

Complete our short GP questionnaire to purchase treatment for BV. Your order will be with you within one working day of approval.

Bacterial Vaginosis

1 treatment(s) for Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Metronidazole Tablets
  • Very effective for trichomonas vaginalis
  • Complete the full course
  • Mild side effects
DescriptionCausesTypes of treatmentQuestions and answers

Bacterial vaginosis is commonly referred to as BV. It is a common condition which can develop whenever there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina that leads to a disruption to the natural balance. Women of any age can get BV, but those experiencing their reproductive years are at higher risk. People typically develop this condition after engaging in sexual intercourse with a new partner. But despite this, it is not classed as a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Women can develop BV without even having sex.

The cause of this condition still remains unknown, but it is understood that activities such as unprotected sex increase the risk. BV is the most common cause of a woman developing a vaginal infection during childbearing age.

To learn more about bacterial vaginosis , see the comprehensive patient information leaflet

The exact reasons for developing BV are not completely understood, but it is known that it occurs as a result of an overgrowth of ‘bad bacteria’ within the vagina. A woman’s vagina contains a natural balance of ‘bad bacteria’ (lactobacilli) and ‘good bacteria’ (anaerobes). If this balance is disturbed by an overproduction of harmful bacteria, BV can arise. There are proven risk factors that can increase the chances of a woman becoming infected. Some include:

  • Smoking
  • Bathing using antiseptic liquids
  • Having a partner who is also a female
  • Washing your underwear with a strong detergent
  • Having multiple sex partners or a new sex partner
  • Using water to clean or rinse out vagina (referred to as “douching”)

A high number of women who develop BV report experiencing no symptoms. If no symptoms are present, treatment should not be required. This condition can be known to appear and quickly disappear without the need to intervene at all. However, some symptoms include:

  • Itching around the vagina
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Unpleasant vaginal odour described commonly as ‘fishy’
  • Thin and watery vaginal discharge, usually grey, white or green in colour

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There are many courses of treatment you can choose from when treating BV. They involve taking antibiotics which come in either cream, gel, or pill form. These medicines have an effectivity rate of approximately 90%, but BV is known to reappear after clearing the infection. Medications that are commonly prescribed, and of which we stock, include:


This is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for cases of BV. It is available in the form of a tablet (orally) or a vaginal gel; we stock both forms. You should refrain from the consumption of alcohol while taking this medicine and for at least 1-2 days after finishing the treatment. Metronidazole reacts with alcohol and can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain and nausea to occur if this is not taken into consideration.


Clindamycin is an alternatively used antibiotic treatment when a course of metronidazole has proved ineffective. It is available in the form of a cream. We stock Dalacin cream which is a branded version of this medicine containing the exact same active ingredient (clindamycin). Barrier contraception methods, such as latex condoms and diaphragms, can be weakened while using this treatment.

You must take your course of treatment for the entire length of time your doctor prescribes it for, even if your symptoms appear to have faded. If symptoms completely clear after completing a course of treatment, there will be no need for further testing. It is usually unnecessary to treat the male sexual partner as BV is not believed to be a sexually transmitted condition. It can spread between female sexual partners, but not male sexual partners.

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Can a male get BV from a sexual partner?

The very term vaginosis’ actually refers to a vaginal abnormality; so no, a male cannot develop bacterial vaginosis. Female sex partners are at increased risk as BV can spread between female partners. Seek treatment immediately if in this scenario.

Is BV a sexually transmitted disease?

NO. The male partners of women who have developed BV will not need to seek treatment. There could, however, be a risk of BV occurring if you get a new sex partner or have multiple sex partners. During sexual encounters, you will be putting yourself at even greater risk if you refrain from using a condom. It’s important to remember that BV will only develop when the balance of bacteria in your vagina becomes disrupted, meaning any woman can become affected, even those who aren’t sexually active.

Can BV go away without the need for treatment?

YES. In fact, it’s very common for BV to pass on its own; the majority of cases are mild, and some people might have even developed it at some point but never realised due to the symptoms being non-existent. If an unpleasant-smelling vaginal discharge happens to develop, you should have it checked and diagnosed right away.

Why do symptoms of BV keep reappearing?

It is a very common issue for BV to occur for absolutely no discernible or particular reason. There are prevention steps you can take to minimise your chances of re-occurrence, but it’s near impossible to prevent it proficiently. According to studies, approximately 10% of all women will experience BV at a point in their lifetimes.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at!