Welcome to Qoctor’s online doctor service which can provide assessment, advice and treatment for people who have been previously diagnosed with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).
We will ask you some questions about your health, just as a doctor would in clinic. In most cases a video consultation is not required.
Once you’ve been assessed, treatment may be recommended- you can then opt to have a paper prescription sent to your home or local pharmacy, or medication delivered to an address of your choice, from one of our partner pharmacies.
About Bacterial Vaginosis
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is caused by an imbalance of the bacteria that normally live in the vagina, leading to abnormal discharge, which may be watery, grey or white, and may have a fishy odour.
- It’s not clear why it happens, but it’s more common in sexually active women and using condoms appears to make it less likely to develop.
- The diagnosis is confirmed by a vaginal swab performed by a doctor. Other conditions such as thrush and STIs like Chlamydia need to be excluded.
Some women get repeated episodes of bacterial vaginosis with unpleasant symptoms, and may require antibiotic treatment.
A normal, healthy vagina is home to a variety of different bacteria. However, in Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) the balance is disturbed, and an overgrowth of some of these bacteria occurs. It’s not entirely clear why this happens. The most common symptom is a change in vaginal discharge, which may become white-grey in colour and may have a fishy smell. However, many women with BV do not have any symptoms at all (up to half of cases).
Bacterial Vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection (although using condoms does seem to make it less likely to develop). It can affect all women, whether they have had sex or not, but it is more common in sexually active women. Male sexual partners of women who have BV do not need any treatment, though female sexual partners may.
In women of reproductive age, BV is the most common cause of vaginal discharge.
Women are more likely to get BV if they:
- are sexually active
- have recently changed sexual partner
- have a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- are smokers
- have a copper coil for contraception
- use bubble bath
Women are less likely to get BV if:
- they use the combined oral contraceptive pill
- they have a partner who has had a circumcision
- their partner uses a condom
BV is usually diagnosed on the basis of your symptoms, and is confirmed by taking a vaginal swab, which can be performed by a doctor or nurse. You may also need tests for STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. If you are pregnant, and suspect you may have BV, it’s important to get tested and treated, as it can increase the risk of pregnancy-related complications.
In most women, BV causes no harm whatsoever, though the discharge may be unpleasant. However, if you have untreated BV during pregnancy, there is a slightly higher risk of premature labour, miscarriage, preterm birth and having a baby with a low birthweight. If you are pregnant and suspect you may have BV, you should see your GP or midwife. BV can also cause complications if you have had recent gynaecological surgery- the chance of developing an infection of the womb is higher.
There is also some evidence that women with untreated BV may be at an increased risk of getting other STIs and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
For women with a diagnosis of BV, antibiotics (either oral or a topical preparation) to get rid of the symptoms. However, if symptoms are mild, there is a good chance that BV will gradually clear by itself. And if BV is picked up on a swab but a woman has no symptoms, there’s generally no need for treatment at all. However, in pregnancy, or just after gynaecological surgery, there’s a higher chance of complications, and it’s usually recommended to have treatment.
No, if symptoms get better, you do not usually require any further testing, though if you are pregnant, retesting may be advisable.
If your symptoms come back immediately or do not get better after treatment, you may need a vaginal swab and other tests to make sure there’s nothing else going on. If you’ve had treatment for BV and it settled, but then comes back again after weeks or months, another course of antibiotics will often be successful. But any symptoms that do not get better should be discussed with a doctor.
Health Library- Bacterial Vaginosis
What is bacterial vaginosis? A normal, healthy vagina is home to a variety of different bacteria. However, in Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) the balance is disturbed, and an overgrowth of some of these bacteria occurs. It is not entirely clear why this happens. The most common symptom is a vaginal discharge which is often white-grey in colour and may have a fishy smell. However, many women with BV do not have any symptoms at all (up to half of cases). Learn more about online prescriptions for BV Is bacterial vaginosis a sexually transmitted disease? BV is not a sexually transmitted infection (although using condoms does seem to make it less likely to develop). It can affect all women, whether they have had sex or not, but it is more common in sexually active women. Male sexual partners of women who have BV do not need any treatment, [...]