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Sexual Conditions Health Center

Bacterial Vaginosis - Treatment Overview

Treatment options for bacterial vaginosis include:

  • Watchful waiting. Bacterial vaginosis symptoms may go away on their own. This happens when the vaginal lactobacilli organisms increase to their normal levels, and other bacteria levels drop.
  • Antibiotic medicine (oral or vaginal). Antibiotics can kill the problem bacteria causing bacterial vaginosis symptoms but sometimes don't reverse the cause. So symptoms recur in about 1 out of 3 of women after antibiotic treatment.2

For some women, bacterial vaginosis goes away without treatment. But when it does not go away even with treatment, bacterial vaginosis is frustrating and troublesome. And it can lead to preterm labor if you have it during pregnancy. If present during pelvic surgery or invasive vaginal procedures, bacterial vaginosis makes the reproductive tract vulnerable to infection or inflammation, which has been linked to such problems as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). So your doctor will test and treat you with antibiotics for bacterial vaginosis if you are:

  • Having persistent symptoms.
  • Pregnant and have symptoms.
  • Planning to have a hysterectomy or surgical abortion. Treating bacterial vaginosis with antibiotics beforehand may lower your risk of getting a serious infection afterward.

Talk to your doctor about whether screening is right for you.

What to think about

If you are planning to become pregnant and have symptoms or a history of bacterial vaginosis, talk to your doctor about screening and treatment before you start a pregnancy.

If your doctor finds other problems during the exam, such as a possible sexually transmitted infection (STI), appropriate treatment will be recommended.

Since it probably is not passed between a man and woman, treating a male sex partner or partners will not help cure bacterial vaginosis.3 But for a woman with a female sex partner, it is possible that bacterial vaginosis is passed back and forth, although this is not yet proved. In this case, treating both partners may help.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 01, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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