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)
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- Vaginal discharge; NICE CKS, May 2013 (UK access only)