Blog Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment Options with Access Doctor

Bacterial vaginosis treatment options: BV (Bacterial vaginosis) is a common vaginal infection that affects many women. It occurs when there is a change in the balance of bacteria in the vagina. However, BV is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) but can increase your risk of contracting one.

When your vagina is healthy, it’s home to various bacteria, most of which are harmless. But when there’s a change in the balance of bacteria, it can lead to bacterial vaginosis (BV). Bacterial vaginosis is different from yeast infection. Another name for yeast infection is candidiasis.

During a bout of BV, the number of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria decreases while the number of other bacteria, especially anaerobic bacteria, increases. Anaerobic bacteria are the ones that give BV its characteristic fishy odour.

While anaerobic bacteria are usually harmless in a well-balanced bacterial ecosystem, they can cause problems when their numbers grow out of control. This can lead to vaginal discharge, itching, and burning symptoms.

BV is most common in women between 15 and 44 but can occur at any age. It is also more common in women with multiple sexual partners or who use douches.

The most common symptom of BV is a thin, greyish-white vaginal discharge with a fishy odour.

You may also experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Vaginal itching or burning
  • Pain during urination or sexual intercourse
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva

Less common symptoms include:

  • Vaginal itch on the outside of the vagina
  • A burning sensation when urinating

Sometimes, BV can occur without any noticeable symptoms. But if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, seeking treatment as soon as possible is vital. BV is easily treated with antibiotics, and most women experience relief from symptoms within a few days of starting treatment.

What is the best treatment for BV?

Bacterial vaginosis treatment options: BV can be treated with antibiotics, taken orally or applied as a cream or gel to the vagina. Treatment usually takes 5 to 7 days, and most women experience relief from symptoms within a few days of starting treatment.

If you have been diagnosed with BV, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to help restore the balance of bacteria in your vagina. The most common antibiotics used to treat BV are metronidazole and clindamycin. These antibiotics can be taken orally or applied as a gel or cream to the vagina.

Oral antibiotics are usually taken for seven days. They can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

Topical vaginal antibiotic creams or gels are usually applied daily for 5-7 days. They may cause side effects such as minor vaginal burning and itching.

It is essential to finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better a day or two after starting your medication. This will help ensure that the infection is completely cleared. 

Keep your vulva clean and dry, wear loose-fitting cotton underwear and avoid using scented soaps and detergents on the area, as these can cause further irritation to inflamed skin.

You should also avoid sex until you have finished your course of antibiotics. Sex can spread the infection to your partner.

Why is it important to finish your complete course of antibiotics for BV?

It’s essential to finish your entire course of antibiotics for BV, even if your symptoms subside before your medication runs out. This is because stopping treatment early can:

  • Cause the infection to come back. If you don’t kill all the bacteria causing the infection, it can come back stronger and be more challenging to treat.
  • Contribute to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem. It happens when bacteria develop the ability to resist antibiotics, making them less effective at treating infections. When you stop taking antibiotics early, it gives the bacteria a chance to survive and become resistant.

It can be easy to forget to take or apply your medication, especially if you feel better after a few days. Here’s what you can do to make sure you finish your entire course of antibiotics:

  • Set a reminder on your phone or calendar to take your medication.
  • Take your medication with food or milk to reduce stomach upset.
  • If you are having trouble taking your medication, talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a different form of the medicine or give you tips on making it easier to take.

Can BV be prevented? 

The imbalance of bacteria in the vagina is the root cause of bacterial vaginosis. Although the precise cause of this disruption still remains a medical mystery, some women are more likely to be diagnosed with BV than others.

The twist here is that doctors don’t fully understand why the imbalance occurs or know precisely what caused this sudden change in the bacterial balance. We do, however, know that some predisposing circumstances exist. Having a new sexual partner, using specific hygiene products, and smoking are all prime examples.

While prevention is always better than cure, it can help to boost your overall health and well-being, and that of your vaginal health, by reducing stress, stopping smoking, getting plenty of exercise, eating a healthy diet, reducing alcohol intake, and improving your quality of sleep.

Over-the-counter products for BV: Should you use them?

Many over-the-counter products claim to treat BV, but it’s essential to talk to your doctor or consult an Access Doctor healthcare professional before using them. 

This is because you may not choose the right product for your type of infection, you may not use the correct dose to see effective results, or the product may interact with other medications you are taking. The product you choose may also cause unwanted side effects that could be avoided with proper medical help.

Bacterial vaginosis treatment options: With Access Doctor, getting the correct medication exactly when you need it is easy, fast and affordable. The beauty of our online service is that you don’t need to wait to see your GP or take your prescription to the pharmacist to fill out. Access Doctor offers the same professional service with qualified healthcare professionals and the same genuine medications, conveniently delivered to your door.

Using inappropriate or ineffective treatments can actually make BV worse, so it’s important to get professional advice and access the most appropriate treatment for your needs. Access Doctor healthcare professionals will assess your symptoms, medical history, and other factors to prescribe your proper treatment.

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