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Bacterial vaginosis is triggered by an imbalance of bacteria in the body. The most common symptoms include an unpleasant odour and unusual vaginal discharge.

Answer a few questions about your health, and get advice on the right treatments for you from our experts. Order bacterial vaginosis treatment online and get it delivered to your door.

Here’s what's included in the price:
Answer a few questions about your health so we can get to know you better.
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Your treatment delivered in secure packaging, the very next day.
We’ll check in with you regularly to see how your treatment is going.
This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.
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    Bacterial Vaginosis: Here's what we've got.
    Silver blister pack containing 10 small round yellow tablets



    A generic antibiotic tablet. Taken twice daily. One week course.

    • Starting from £22.00
    Silver blister pack containing 10 round yellow tablets



    Branded version of Metronidazole. A one week course that you take twice a day.

    • Starting from £30.00

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    Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.

    Reference Popover #ref1

    What is bacterial vaginosis?

    Bacterial vaginosis occurs because of an overgrowth of one of several bacteria naturally found in your vagina. Usually, if there are too many anaerobic bacteria, they upset the natural balance of microorganisms and cause bacterial vaginosis. This causes the normal pH of your vagina to rise, which results in a pale discharge and a strong smell. This is only the case for half of affected women though; 50% of women with bacterial vaginosis don’t get any symptoms.

    Bacterial vaginosis isn’t sexually transmitted but it is linked to sexual activity. It can occur more often in women who have multiple sex partners or a new sex partner.

    Who gets bacterial vaginosis?

    Anyone with a vagina can develop bacterial vaginosis; pre-pubescent, child-bearing, and post-menopausal women are all at risk. However, the condition is slightly more common in sexually active people.

    Many bacterial vaginosis cases are caused by the upset pH balance of the vagina, which, more often than not, is a result of using too much perfumed soap or topical treatments containing plastics and chemicals.

    How common is bacterial vaginosis?

    Bacterial vaginosis is the number one cause of all unusual vaginal discharge in pre-menopausal women. It’s most common in sexually active women, and it can vary in severity. It may be symptomless too, so sometimes it’s difficult to detect.

    Medically reviewed by
    Dr Daniel Atkinson
    GP Clinical Lead
    on August 02, 2022.
    Meet Daniel  
    This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.

    How we source info.

    When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognised analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.

    What causes bacterial vaginosis?

    The cause of bacterial vaginosis is the disturbance of the regular bacterial environment in the vagina. There are lifestyle choices and other factors that can alter the bacteria in the vagina, which include:

    • being sexually active
    • being sexually active with a new partner
    • having an IUD
    • smoking
    • using perfumed products on or around the vagina
    • a recent course of antibiotics

    What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis?

    While half of people with bacterial vaginosis won’t experience any symptoms, the other half will usually notice a discharge which ranges in texture, from a thin mucus to a thicker substance, and in colour (either white, pink, beige, or greyish). The discharge produces a strong fishlike smell which usually signals an overgrowth of bacteria.

    Can I protect myself against bacterial vaginosis?

    The best way to prevent developing bacterial vaginosis is to use condoms regularly when you have sex, especially when having sex with new partners. Sexual activity changes the microbiome of the vagina, as you introduce new bacteria from another partner. Other preventative actions you could take include adopting a healthier lifestyle: by stopping smoking and choosing a healthier diet, coupled with regular exercise, you may reduce your vulnerability. It might be worth reviewing your method of contraception, too, if you are currently using a copper IUD. Research suggests that the copper IUD puts you at an increased risk of bacterial vaginosis, as it changes the microbiome of your vagina and leads to heavier bleeding.

    Can bacterial vaginosis lead to other problems?

    Bacterial vaginosis does not directly lead to other health concerns. But it does increase our vulnerability to developing other infections, particularly sexually transmitted ones like chlamydia or other bacterial infections.

    All bacterial infections are serious if left untreated, and it’s especially important to treat any found in pregnant women as such infection can threaten the pregnancy as well as endangering the mother. Contracting bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy risks premature birth and a low birth weight. Bacterial vaginosis can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which causes problems if you are trying to get pregnant.

    Reference Popover #ref2

    How is bacterial vaginosis treated?

    As with many other kinds of bacterial infection, bacterial vaginosis is best treated with a full course of antibiotics. It’s important that the prescribed dose and course is completed, even if your symptoms clear up and you feel better. Always finish your course of antibiotics to give them the best chance to work as they should.

    Is there a ‘best’ treatment for bacterial vaginosis?

    Antibiotics are the most effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis. When you speak to our clinician, we’ll discuss the best way to deliver those antibiotics into your system. Antibiotics are available as oral medications, in tablets and capsules, as well as topical treatments, such as creams to be applied directly to the vagina.

    Does bacterial vaginosis always need treatment?

    Very mild cases of bacterial vaginosis, particularly symptomless infections, may clear up on their own. Some people test positive but don’t experience symptoms. In this case, it’s best not to undergo treatment as this encourages your body to become resistant to antibiotics, reducing your chances of combatting future infections and illness effectively.

    FAQ: Bacterial vaginosis

    Have something specific you want to know? Search our info below, or ask our experts a question if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

    How is bacterial vaginosis diagnosed?

    If you suspect you might have bacterial vaginosis, a clinician will likely perform a pelvic exam to identify the symptoms and presentation of discharge. Testing for BV includes using a vaginal swab to determine the pH of the vagina to rule out other conditions and confirm a diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis.

    Do I need to have test results before I order bacterial vaginosis treatment?

    You can only receive treatment for bacterial vaginosis after showing your positive test results. If you have already seen a clinician or been to a sexual health clinic, you just need to upload your result to our online system. If you haven't had a test, you can order one quickly and easily from us online.

    Does unusual discharge always suggest bacterial vaginosis?

    There are other infections which can cause unusual discharge, such as yeast infections or sexually transmitted infections. Yeast infections, like thrush, are caused by an overproduction of candida rather than an overproduction of bacteria, and they usually produce thicker, less smelly discharge. Bacterial vaginosis, on the other hand, is characterised by a thick, strong-smelling discharge. It’s important to do a test before seeking treatment to ensure you’re addressing the problem effectively.

    Can you get side effects from bacterial vaginosis treatment?

    There are some mild side effects to be aware of when treating bacterial vaginosis with antibiotics. These include nausea, feeling dizzy, diarrhoea, headaches, and pains in the stomach.

    Does bacterial vaginosis treatment always work?

    In some cases, bacterial vaginosis can reoccur. To tackle a recurring infection, we would recommend a longer course of treatment, and a more thorough look into what’s causing the disruption to the pH balance in the vagina.

    Why should I buy bacterial vaginosis treatment online with Treated?

    We’re simplifying healthcare. Tell us about your health, and we’ll recommend treatments that are right just for you. You can then choose your medication from our options, and we’ll deliver it to your door.

    We’ll reach out to you to make sure that your treatment is working the way it should. And if you have any questions about it, our clinicians are on hand to help. All you need to do is sign in to your account and send them a message. 

    How is Flagyl different from other treatments for bacterial vaginosis?

    Unlike some treatments for bacterial vaginosis, Flagyl comes as tablets. Dalacin is a cream you apply to your vagina. Zidoval contains the same active ingredient as Flagyl, metronidazole, but it comes as a gel you put on topically. If you find it easier to take tablets than apply the treatment to your vagina, Flagyl could be the right choice for you.

    Is Flagyl similar to any other treatments?

    Flagyl is a brand name, so you can buy similar tablets containing the same active ingredient, metronidazole. You can also buy a generic version, just called Metronidazole. They’ll all work in a similar way, but they might come in different dosages, look different or be called something else.

    Flagyl also comes as a suppository. This kind of treatment isn’t usually used for bacterial vaginosis. It might be the right choice for you if you have a different kind of infection, or you’re unable to take tablets.

    Can I have sex on Flagyl?

    You shouldn’t have sex while you’re taking Flagyl. This is true even if you’re using a barrier method of contraception like a condom. Sex will introduce new bacteria into your vagina and make your bacterial vaginosis harder to treat.

    Even oral and anal sex can reduce the effectiveness of Flagyl. If you have a same sex partner, you might also spread bacterial vaginosis to them if you have sex before your treatment is finished. You can have sex safely seven days after your treatment is finished.

    Can I take Flagyl if I’m pregnant?

    It’s usually not advised to take Flagyl during pregnancy. If you’re breastfeeding, small amounts of the drug may also pass to your baby from your system.

    Always tell your clinician if you’re pregnant, might become pregnant or you’re breastfeeding before you take Flagyl. They can let you know the best treatment for you. If you’re using our service and you need advice, our clinicians can help you.

    Can I drink alcohol on Flagyl?

    It’s not safe to drink alcohol and take Flagyl at the same time. This is because Flagyl interacts with alcohol and causes side effects. You might become very dizzy and nauseous when drinking on Flagyl. And if you’re sick, the medication might not be as effective.

    Even once you’ve finished your course of Flagyl, you should wait for 48 hours before drinking alcohol. This allows all the medication to leave your system, so it won’t cause any problems if you drink.

    Which foods should I avoid on Flagyl?

    There are no foods you have to avoid while taking Flagyl. A few people taking the medication may experience nausea. You can help with this by eating smaller meals of bland foods. You might want to avoid spicy or heavy foods if you’re feeling sick.

    How effective is Flagyl?

    Flagyl is very effective for treating bacterial vaginosis. When taken as tablets, it has been shown to work 87–92% of the time. There are other self-care methods that can help you treat bacterial vaginosis, or stop it from coming back. You should avoid using scented soaps near your vagina. If you smoke, quitting smoking puts you at a lower risk of bacterial vaginosis.

    Do I need a prescription for Flagyl?

    Flagyl is only available on prescription. Your clinician will need to make sure it’s suitable for you before they can prescribe it. If you have bacterial vaginosis, you just need to talk to our clinicians about your health. We’ll talk you through your options.

    Why should I buy Flagyl online with Treated?

    Treated makes tackling bacterial vaginosis simple. You can do it all from home. Just talk to us about your health, and we’ll suggest suitable and safe treatments for you to pick from. Once you order, you’ll receive fast delivery right to you.

    If you buy Flagyl online with Treated, you also get access to our specialised aftercare. We’ll check in with you after you’ve finished your course and see how you are. If you need any advice or guidance, just sign into your account and send our clinician a message.

    Is Metronidazole similar to any other treatments?

    As well as being available as a generic tablet, Metronidazole is also available as a branded tablet called Flagyl. There’s also a gel version called Zidoval. All three treatments have the same active ingredient: metronidazole.

    How is Metronidazole different from other treatments for bacterial vaginosis?

    Some people don’t know that they’ve got bacterial vaginosis, and it often clears up on its own. For others, the symptoms can be unpleasant and recurring. Metronidazole is a popular and effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis, but there are alternative medications too.

    Dalacin is another treatment for bacterial vaginosis. Unlike Metronidazole, it’s a cream and contains a slightly different antibiotic called clindamycin phosphate. Dalacin is applied to the vagina before you go to sleep. A course of Dalacin usually lasts three to five days.

    Which version of Metronidazole should I use?

    When it comes to the tablets, there isn’t much difference between the generic tablets and the branded tablets. They may look different and come in different packaging, but the job they do and the way they work is the same.

    Zidoval - the gel version of metronidazole - might be the best treatment option if your bacterial vaginosis is quite mild or if you don’t like taking tablets.

    During your consultation with one of our clinicians you will be able to get expert advice on the right form and course of treatment to help you get rid of the infection quickly and effectively.

    How effective is Metronidazole?

    Studies show that Metronidazole is highly effective at treating bacterial vaginosis. Ninety percent of women who take metronidazole find that it treats bacterial vaginosis within a week. It’s also 50% effective at stopping the infection from coming back for a year after treatment ends.

    Do I need a prescription for Metronidazole?

    Yes. All antibiotics need to be prescribed by a trained clinician. This is because all infections need to be monitored as they’re treated to ensure that they don’t spread or worsen.

    In order to get a prescription for Metronidazole you’ll need to show evidence that you have tested positive for bacterial vaginosis. You can do this by providing a test result from a clinic, or you can buy a testing kit from Treated and show your results to our clinician during your consultation.

    When it comes to antibiotics, it’s important to ensure that you are taking the right medication to treat the right infection, so our clinicians will chat to you and build up a full picture before prescribing the best treatment for your needs.
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