Bacterial Vaginosis treatments: What it is and how to treat it

Reviewed and fact-checked by Alessandro Grenci, Superintendent Pharmacist. Read our editorial policy to see how we create informative, accurate content.

Bacterial vaginosis is a form of vaginal infection, resulting from an overabundance of naturally occurring bacteria in the vagina, which disturbs the usual balance. This condition often affects women in their reproductive years, though it can impact women of all ages. The exact cause remains unclear, however, certain behaviours, including unprotected intercourse or regular douching, are known to heighten the risk.

Medino’s superintendent pharmacist, Alessandro, says that

BV is a common infection that as long as it is treated with the right medication easily can be managed and although uncomfortable rarely results in more serious conditions. It is however important to know how to identify it.

Hopefully, this article can do just that. Let’s jump in!


What are the potential signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis?

Signs of bacterial vaginosis can vary. They might include a thin discharge from the vagina which could be grey, white, or green in colour. There may also be an unusual, foul-smelling, "fishy" vaginal odour. Some individuals might experience vaginal itching or burning sensations during urination. However, it's crucial to note that many women may not exhibit any signs or symptoms at all.

When should I consult a doctor regarding new or unusual vaginal discharge?

It's advisable to schedule a doctor's visit if you notice new vaginal discharge associated with an odour or fever. A visit is also recommended if the colour or consistency of your discharge differs from previous vaginal infections. Similarly, if you've had multiple sexual partners or a recent new partner, a doctor's consultation can help identify potential sexually transmitted infections. Moreover, if symptoms persist after attempting self-treatment for yeast infection using over-the-counter treatments, it would be prudent to seek medical advice.

What are effective strategies to minimise the risk of bacterial vaginosis?

To lower the chance of bacterial vaginosis, several steps can be taken. One should favour mild, non-deodorant soaps and unscented feminine hygiene products to lessen vaginal irritation. Regular bathing suffices for vaginal cleanliness, avoiding douching as it disrupts the vaginal balance, raising the risk of infection. Furthermore, practising safe sex, such as using latex condoms or limiting sexual partners, can help prevent sexually transmitted infections linked to bacterial vaginosis.

BV treatments

How is bacterial vaginosis treated, particularly in recurring cases?

Bacterial vaginosis is typically treated using prescribed antibiotic tablets, gels, or creams, with treatment guidance provided by a GP or a sexual health clinic. In cases where the condition is shared by same-sex partners, both parties may require treatment. Recurrence of bacterial vaginosis is common and may necessitate additional antibiotic treatment. For those experiencing more than four recurrences within a year, a long-term strategy involving the use of an antibiotic gel in the vagina for several months might be advised. This also opens up the opportunity for the GP or sexual health clinic to help identify possible triggers for bacterial vaginosis, such as sex or menstrual cycles.

What over-the-counter treatments can I try?

Alessandro, superintendent pharmacist, suggests trying over-the-counter medicines as a first instance, especially if it is the first occurrence of the inflammation. Treatment gels are effective as they help restore the acidic balance of the vagina and results are noticed within a few days of treatment. Medino offers a number of different treatment gels.

Canesbalance: Canesbalance is a 7-day treatment for bacterial vaginosis, alleviating symptoms such as itching and unpleasant odour, while promoting good bacteria, restricting harmful bacteria, restoring the vagina's acid balance and effectively treating BV within 2-3 days of a week-long usage.

Balance Activ Gel: Balance Activ Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment Gel, a seven-day night-time treatment in a 7-pack, addresses the discomfort, odour, and abnormal discharge associated with BV by restoring the vagina's natural pH and nurturing the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Multi-Gyn Actigel: Contains a natural substance derived from plants that consist of bioactive polysaccharides. This gel can be used for both treating and preventing BV.

Which one do you recommend?

Alessandro, superintendent pharmacist:

Both Canesbalance and Balance Active contain similar ingredients and share similar benefits. So for treating an ongoing infection both these are good options. For prevention of BV I recommend Multi-gyn instead.

If the symptoms persist it is recommended to visit your GP for further guidance and potential other prescription treatments.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, NHS, WebMD

Written by Christian Jakobsson