Antibiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis

In this writeup, you’ll find the 3 most used antibiotics for bacterial vaginosis, how effective they are in treating this infection and what side effects they might present.

As you might already know, bacteria Vaginosis is caused by the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria (mainly Gardnerella species) in the vagina. Common symptoms are: fishy odor, grayish discharge, vaginal itching, increased discharge and in some cases you may experience some pain during intercourse. The two main options for treating bacterial vaginosis (BV) are;

• Antibiotics for curing BV.
Natural cures for BV.

Antibiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis are not over the counter drugs!

First time sufferers usually opt to use antibiotics. But those who have had repeated BV infections prefer to use natural cures, – especially if their doctor keeps prescribing the same drug over and over, maybe just increasing the dosage. Most antibiotics used in treating this infection are ingested orally as pills but there are some which can be applied on the vaginal area as a cream. These vaginal creams or gels are used with an applicator that inserts the correct amount of medicine that has been prescribed.

Antibiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis should not be taken with alcohol because alcohol may cause severe side effects. These antibiotics can only be acquired through a doctor’s prescription. Before using any of these antibiotics you should make sure that you are suffering from BV and not any other condition having similar symptoms, therefore proper diagnosis of BV is important.

Taking other drugs in parallel with these antibiotics can reduce their effectiveness in treating BV and also cause other severe side effects. You are thus advised to give the doctor your full medical history. The three main antibiotics used to treat BV are:

• Metronidazole
• Clindamycin
• Tinidazole

1. Metronidazole – One of the most used Antibiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis

It is known as Flagyl in its tablet form and Metrogel in its gel form. Between the two forms, Flagyl is more effective in treating BV. Metronidazole was developed in 1960,currently it is the most widely used antibiotic for Bacterial Vaginosis. It kills harmful bacteria that cause BV by disabling certain functions at the DNA level. However, Metronidazole is not selective in the bacteria it kills, so it also wipes out the healthy bacteria. Hence, after the treatment is over, the good bacteria cannot grow fast enough to control the harmful bacteria. This leads to recurrent bacterial vaginosis. But in comparison with the other antibiotics, Metronidazole has the lowest recurrence rate for BV. Apart from treating BV, Metronidazole is also used to treat;

• Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
• Amoebiasis.
• Trichomoniasis.

This drug should be stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. And also remember to keep out of reach of children especially the gel form, Metrogel.

Dosages may vary, but it is generally two 500mg tablets per day for 1 week if you are using Flagyl. For Metrogel apply twice a day for 5 days.

Common side effects of this drug are:
- Headaches.
- Nausea.
- Metallic after-taste.
- Dizziness.
- Vomiting.
- Diarrhea.

However, if the side effects start to become severe e.g. difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention at once. Patients who have a history of blood or liver disease should not take this drug.

2. Clindamycin – The most used antibiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis

This is the second most preferred antibiotic for treating BV. It is mostly available as a cream which you insert into the vagina using an applicator. Like Metronidazole, it kills both the good and bad bacteria in the vagina and thus it is not suitable for balancing the level of bacteria in the vagina.

This drug is used when you are allergic to Metronidazole. However, some women are allergic to this drug also. Researchers have also discovered that women, who are prone to yeast infections, are more vulnerable to catching a yeast infection if they use Clindamycin.

Common symptoms associated with use of Clindamycin:
- General itching.
- Mild diarrhea.
- Nausea.
- Dryness.
- Headaches and flushing.

Avoid applying the cream on wide areas of the skin as this may only increase the side effects. Clindamycin can also be as;
- Foam.
- A solution.
- Lotion.
- Pills.
These other forms of Clindamycin can have significantly different side effects from each other.

3. Tinidazole is another popular antibiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis

Another antibiotic for Bacteria Vaginosis is Tinidazole. It is only available in tablet form which is ingested orally. It was developed in 1972 and is widely used in the developing world as treatment for BV plus other amoebic and parasitic infections.

It stays in the body for about 13 hours before it is eliminated through urine. It is usually taken as a single 2g oral dose. However, 1g for 5 days has shown to be more effective. Tinidazole has a more favorable side effect profile than oral Metronidazole notably with better gastrointestinal tolerability and less metallic taste. However, if cost is an issue, oral Metronidazole has the upper hand since it’s considerably cheaper.

The most common side effects are: bitter taste, stomach upset, diarrhea and itchiness. But these side effects do not last for long as in the case of Metronidazole.

Antibiotics are only aimed at curing the symptoms but not eliminating the root cause of BV. So for a more long lasting solution you can try natural cures or over the counter medications to treat BV.

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