Ask A Doctor: Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment
By Dr. Laura Purdy M.D.
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. In this edition of Ask A Doctor, wisp's Medical Director, Dr. Laura Purdy, M.D. is answering your frequently asked questions about Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment.
In the United States, bacterial vaginosis, or "BV," is the most common vaginal condition. If you've experienced the telltale symptoms of BV—unusual vaginal odor, itching, pain, or thin white or grey discharge—you probably want answers! At wisp, our doctors answer common questions about BV treatment every day during online consultations.
If you have a question about BV treatment that is not listed below, send us a message on Instagram @hellowisp and we'll add it to the list!
Q: When can I have sex again after BV treatment?
The question on everyone’s mind: “when can I get back to doing it??” Similar to yeast infections, sex can play a significant role in increasing your risk of getting BV because it disrupts your body’s natural pH balance and introduces foreign bacteria into your vagina. BV can also increase your risk of contracting an STI because of the irritation that’s already happening down there — your tissues are irritated and inflamed making them more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. It’s best to refrain from sex for 72 hours after completing your treatment and ensuring you are symptom-free before hopping back into bed with a partner.
Q: Can I masturbate with BV?
You bet, just be sure to clean or sanitize anything that will come into contact with your vagina, including your hands! Also, avoid masturbating in the bath, as this may lead to additional irritation. And always listen to your body. If you experience discomfort while masturbating, give it a day before trying again.
Q: Does my partner need to be treated as well?
Nope! Your sexual partner(s) do not need to be treated unless they are also experiencing BV symptoms (in which case they should get checked out!). BV is not technically an STI, but you can still develop BV from having sex, so hold off on fun bedroom activities until your treatment is complete and you’re feeling all better.
Q: Does taking antibiotics affect birth control?
While only a few very powerful forms of antibiotics are proven to reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control, it is best to take extra precautions when undergoing antibiotic treatment of any kind. To continue preventing pregnancy, use a backup method of contraception (like condoms) for 2 weeks, throughout the duration of treatment.
Q: Can I take the oral BV medication if pregnant or breastfeeding?
It’s best to stick to vaginal topical treatments if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Wisp offers a gel and cream version of our BV antibiotics that may be a better choice if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Always follow the advice of your doctor for the most appropriate treatment for your situation.
Q: Can I take BV medication while on my period?
Absolutely! Your period will not affect BV treatment.
Q: Can I take clindamycin if I’m allergic to penicillin or amoxicillin?
Yep! Clindamycin is a safe alternative to both of those antibiotics and is used to treat a wide range of infections.
Q: I’m trying to get pregnant. Does BV prevent conception?
There’s no evidence that shows BV to interfere with conception. BV can be stressful, especially if you’re dealing with recurrent infections, and stress can affect conception. Talk to your doctor about solutions if this is something that’s on your mind!
Q: Can I take metronidazole if I’m trying to get pregnant?
Some studies have linked oral metronidazole with a higher risk of birth defects. It’s best to consult with your doctor or ob-gyn. They can counsel you about the risks of any medication and tell you more about the treatment options for your situation.
Q: Is Metronidazole or Clindamycin a better BV treatment?
Both metronidazole and clindamycin are trusted treatments for BV and have similar rates of success. You’re in good hands with either treatment! If you’ve had positive or negative experiences with one medication in the past, feel free to make a medication selection upon checkout with wisp, or send your doctor a message about your preference.
Q: Is it ok to drink alcohol with Metronidazole?
It’s not a good idea to drink alcohol with metronidazole. Consuming alcohol with oral metronidazole will most likely result in extreme nausea and vomiting. While Metronidazole Gel is less likely to absorb into the bloodstream and produce these side effects, it is still possible. When using Metronidazole Gel, you can try alcohol in small amounts, although it’s probably best to lay off the partying during your treatment. Instead, hydrate and rest up so you can get back out there once you’re fully recovered!
Q: Help! What does it mean if my pee is dark after taking Metronidazole?
Dark urine is a common side effect of Metronidazole. It may be alarming, but it’s harmless and will clear up on its own after treatment.
Still have questions? You can always message a wisp doctor from your Patient Dashboard! You can also learn more about BV symptoms on our Learn page. Stay curious!