How can I prevent further episodes of bacterial vaginosis?
Most episodes of bacterial vaginosis (BV) occur for no apparent reason and they cannot be prevented. However, the following are thought to help prevent some episodes of BV. The logic behind these tips is to try not to upset the normal balance of germs (bacteria) in the vagina:
- Do not push water into your vagina to clean it (douching). The vagina needs no specific cleaning.
- Do not add bath oils, antiseptics, scented soaps, perfumed bubble bath, shampoos, etc, to bath water.
- Do not use strong detergents to wash your underwear.
- Do not wash around your vagina and vulva too often. Once a day is usually enough.
BV returns reasonably often after it has been treated. No good way has been found yet of preventing this from happening. The measures above are suggestions but there is no definite evidence that following them will help. If you keep getting BV symptoms, your doctor will do some tests to be absolutely sure you have got BV and not any other infection. If it turns out to be definitely BV, a different antibiotic to the one you have taken previously may be tried. Occasionally regular preventative use of an antibiotic vaginal gel may be advised.
If you are using an IUCD for contraception, it may be advised that you consider having this removed.
Does my partner need testing?
If you have a male partner, then it is not usually necessary for them to be tested. If you have a female partner, however, she should consider being tested for BV.
Did you find this information useful?
- Management of bacterial vaginosis; British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (May 2012)
- Bacterial vaginosis; NICE CKS, July 2014 (UK access only)
- Brotman RM, Ghanem KG, Klebanoff MA, et al; The effect of vaginal douching cessation on bacterial vaginosis: a pilot study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jun 198(6):628.e1-7. Epub 2008 Mar 4.
- Oduyebo OO, Anorlu RI, Ogunsola FT; The effects of antimicrobial therapy on bacterial vaginosis in non-pregnant women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jul 8 (3):CD006055. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006055.pub2.
- Brocklehurst P, Gordon A, Heatley E, et al; Antibiotics for treating bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jan 31 1:CD000262. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000262.pub4.
- Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care; Royal College of General Practitioners and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (Apr 2013)
- Senok AC, Verstraelen H, Temmerman M, et al; Probiotics for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Oct 7 (4):CD006289.
- Evans AL, Scally AJ, Wellard SJ, et al; Prevalence of bacterial vaginosis in lesbians and heterosexual women in a community setting. Sex Transm Infect. 2007 Oct 83(6):470-5. Epub 2007 Jul 4.
- Vaginal discharge; NICE CKS, May 2013 (UK access only)
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.