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Is there a cure for bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

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Yes, BV is usually curable with prescription antibiotics that can help readjust the balance of bacteria in the vagina. Although some over-the-counter vaginal medications are sold, these are not effective for curing BV. Currently, only prescribed antibiotics are effective.

With BV, there is a risk of relapsing if the entire course of antibiotics is not finished.1,2 Therefore, it is important to finish all of the pills in a BV prescription.

Although BV can be cured, it does carry certain risks. Women with BV are at a higher risk for:

  • Delivering an infant preterm (before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • Delivering an infant with a low birth weight (generally, 5.5 pounds or less)
  • More easily contracting certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea, herpes, and HIV/AIDS
  • More easily infecting a partner with certain STDs, including HIV/AIDS
  • Developing pelvic inflammatory disease

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Bacterial vaginosis: CDC fact sheet. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm [top]
  2. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health. (2008). Bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/bacterial-vaginosis.html [top]

Last Reviewed: 05/21/2013
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