Using Metronidazole for Bacterial Vaginosis? How effective and safe is this drug? In this short article, you’ll find out all you need to know about Metronidazole as a drug for BV.
Metronidazole is an antibiotic which is used in fighting off anaerobic bacteria and certain parasites. It was developed in the 1960 and today it is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for bacterial vaginosis (BV). Metronidazole is distributed as Flagyl in its tablet form and Metrogel in its gel form. Besides BV, metronidazole is also used in treating
• Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
• Helicobacter pylori and other anaerobic infections.
Bacterial Vaginosis is a condition associated with overgrowth of Gardnerella species and coinfective anaerobes (Mobiluncus, Bacteroides) in a woman’s vagina. Metronidazole works by entering these bacteria and selectively blocking some of the functions within the bacterial cells, particularly those controlled by the DNA of the bacteria. This causes the offending bacteria to die.
Between the two forms of Metronidazole (Flagyl and Metrogel), Flagyl has been proven more effective in treating bacterial vaginosis.
Is Metronidazole Effective in Treating Bacterial Vaginosis?
Yes, but only in the short term. The reason for this is because in over 50% of women who use Metronidazole to treat BV, the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis reappear within a few weeks. Here you can read more about flagy side effects.
When Metronidazole is first used, it not only kills the harmful bacteria but also the good bacteria which are supposed to be in higher concentrations in the vagina. This will give the BV patient some relief within the first days of using the drug. But after the treatment is over, the good bacteria cannot be able to grow first enough so that they can disinfect the vagina by killing the harmful bacteria. Hence BV symptoms will start to show again. Due to this fact, Metronidazole is one of the causes of Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis.
However, recent studies have shown that Metronidazole has the lowest recurrence rate among all antibiotics used to treat BV. Metronidazole also works in HIV positive women.
If the BV is severe or chronic, Metronidazole is the preferred drug to use since it is fast acting in treatment of BV. Some people may develop allergic reactions to this drug. If that occurs you are advised to stop using the drug and seek other forms of medications. For a more long lasting solution to BV, you can research about natural cures for bacterial vaginosis. In some cases some people start off by using Metronidazole then after that they switch to natural cures so that symptoms don’t recur. But you are strongly recommended to first finish your prescription before taking other forms of treatments.
Metronidazole should be stored at room temperature (15-27 degrees) and away from direct sunlight. If you sweat a lot do not carry the drug (Flagyl) in your pockets. Always remember to keep out of reach of children. If Metrogel is ingested accidentally, wash the mouth with hydrogen peroxide then go and see a doctor.
Metronidazole for Bacterial Vaginosis – Dosage
The oral form, Flagyl, should be taken either as a 500mg tablet twice a day for seven days, or as a 750mg tab once a day for the same duration. Meanwhile its gel form, Metrogel, is to be applied once or twice a day for 5 consecutive days. However, these dosages may vary slightly depending on the doctor’s prescription. For the Metrogel, make sure you only apply it on the vagina and the areas surrounding it. Applying it on large areas of the skin will only increase the side effects especially for those using coumarin and warfarin medications or those individuals who have a blood dyscrasia history.
Consumption of alcohol should be avoided by patients while using Metronidazole for Bacterial Vaginosis treatment and for at least 48 hours after completion of the treatment. Additionally, Metronidazole should not be taken by women who have a history of liver, nerve, blood, or brain problems.
Common Side Effects When You Use Metronidazole for Bacterial Vaginosis
Contrary to popular belief, most women who use Metronidazole for Bacterial Vaginosis treatment do not experience any side effects. In fact some women tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in many cases, they are minor and do not require any treatment. These side effects are:
- Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain.
- Metallic after- taste which can persist for a couple of hours.
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- Sore throat and dry mouth.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Itchy skin including the vaginal area.
- Slight flu-like symptoms such as fever or chills.
Sometimes an individual might experience a tingling sensation or numbness in their hands or feet. However, if you start to have the following severe symptoms;
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Swelling of the lips, throat or face.
- Severe vaginal irritation.
- Painful menstrual periods.
Then you should go and see a doctor. In most cases, the cause of these severe side effects is an allergic reaction. In that case the doctor might recommend Clindamycin or Tinidazole which are alternative antibiotics used to treat BV.
Metronidazole is generally safe to use even when pregnant but after only after the first three months. It is important to remember that unless the cause is eliminated, BV will most likely come back. Therefore you should also look into causes of BV and their prevention.