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About bacterial vaginosis treatment

BV can be easily treated using antibiotics. You can choose between metronidazole tablets, which are taken orally; or Zidoval gel (containing metronidazole) or Dalacin cream (containing clindamycin), which contain antibiotics and are inserted into the vagina.

How do the treatments work?

Each of the antibiotic treatments work by killing the bacteria in the vagina causing your BV.

Need prescription bacterial vaginosis treatment?

Clinical review within 2–24 hrs

How do I take the treatments?

Metronidazole tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water twice daily alongside meals.

Zidoval gel and Dalacin cream should both be inserted directly into the vagina once a day before bed using the applicator provided.

Do not drink alcohol while using Zidoval gel or taking Metronidazole tablets, and for at least 48 hours (two days) after finishing the course of treatment otherwise you will experience a severe reaction. Common reactions include a rapid heart beat, throbbing headache and vomiting.

All treatment courses are between 5 and 7 days.

What are the side effects of bacterial vaginosis treatment?

Side effects of Zidoval gel can include vaginal irritation and itching, headaches, dizziness and stomach upsets.

It may also cause a change to taste and a lack of appetite.

Side effects of Dalacin cream can include vaginal irritation and itching, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vaginal thrush and discharge.

Please be aware that Dalacin cream will damage latex condoms and contraceptive diaphragms.

Side effects of Metronidazole tablets can include feeling and being sick, a lack of appetite, and a sore or strange feeling in your mouth and tongue. They can also darken the colour of your urine temporarily; make sure to drink lots of water.

For the full information of a medicine’s side effects and how to take or use it, it’s important to read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.

How effective are bacterial vaginosis treatments?

The treatments are all intended to clear up your BV. But it may come back again in the future. If you are regularly experiencing BV, you should visit your GP for a detailed assessment of the causes and to discuss long-term remedies.

Important safety information

If you have pelvic pain, fever or chills, itching or soreness of the vulva and vagina, or a new or bloody vaginal discharge you could have a more serious condition. Please get urgent face-to-face care. It’s important that you tell us which other medicines you’re taking — whether they’re prescription or medicines you’ve bought without a prescription. You must also tell us of any other conditions you live with. We need to know so that we can prescribe a suitable BV treatment for you.

What if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

You must tell us if you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant. You must not use these treatments in these circumstances. If you are breastfeeding you should not use Metronidazole tablets.

What are my options if I don’t get treated?

BV may clear up without being treated. The treatments we can prescribe will help to bring relief from the discomfort and distress of BV more quickly. If you’ve been experiencing BV regularly, it’s important you speak with your GP about things you can do to prevent it in future. You may also be more at risk of sexually transmitted infections if you regularly suffer with BV. You could also try using over-the-counter products, such as BV gel, to help soothe your symptoms. These can be used alone or alongside antibiotic treatment.

Page last reviewed by: Dr. Christina Hennessey 21/06/2021