Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis

The information that you provide is covered by the same patient-doctor confidentiality as in a normal face to face consultation.

Bacterial vaginosis is a common cause of vaginal discharge. 

It is not a sexually transmitted infection. 

Bacterial vaginosis can sometimes be confused with vaginal candida/ thrush. Vaginal candida/ thrush usually causes a thick, white discharge with associated itch and irritation around the vagina/ vulva. The treatment for thrush is very different to bacterial vaginosis treatment. If you have been diagnosed with thrush in the past and you currently have similar symptoms, specific thrush treatment may be more appropriate. 

This is not available via this treatment service. 

Bacterial vaginosis happens because of an imbalance of the normal bacteria in the vagina. The usual environment of the vagina is acidic, but when it becomes alkaline, the bacteria of the vagina alter in ratio. The vagina has many different types of bacteria, including aerobic (Aerobic =use oxygen)  lactobacilli and anaerobic (Anaerobic= live without oxygen)bacteria. They work in balance to regulate the acidity. In bacterial vaginosis, the balance changes and the anaerobic bacteria increase in number. The exact cause of this is not fully understood, but it is more likely to occur if something alters the acid level of the vagina, allowing the anaerobic bacteria to overgrow.

Some activities can upset the bacteria in the vagina and increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis including: multiple sexual partners, regular vaginal washing, bleeding, STI, smoking and oral sex. Bacterial vaginosis is not caught from toilet seats, swimming pools or jacuzzis.

Many women who have bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms. When symptoms are present they include:

  • White/ grey discharge with a fishy smell . The discharge is usually heavier after intercourse or a period, and the smell is often more noticeable during sex.
  • It does not usually cause itching/ soreness around the vagina/ vulva, but can, if the discharge is very heavy. 

In mild cases, this can settle spontaneously, or with the use of over the counter products such as Relactogel. In some cases,  medication is necessary and it usually settles quickly with this. However, it can and does recur. Using Relactogel from the pharmacy, after completing your course of prescription medication, helps keep the balance in the vagina acidic and reduces the likelihood of bacterial vaginosis recurring. 

As a first line of treatment, we issue Metronidazole orally, but if you would prefer local treatment (vaginal cream),  please send us a message with your application to advise of this.

Fill out the following questionnaire. It will be thoroughly reviewed by an Irish-registered GP who then may prescribe you medication to treat bacterial vaginosis, or advise you on the best next course of action for your particular case.

Who is this treatment for?

  • This treatment is for women who have had a diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis in the past by their doctor, and are currently experiencing symptoms of bacterial vaginosis 
  • This service is not suitable for you if:
    • You have not had a diagnosis and treatment for bacterial vaginosis before.
    • You are pregnant or trying to conceive.
    • You have a diagnosis or symptoms of thrush.
    • You are under 17 years of age

How the service works

  • Online consultations with Irish based doctors
  • Our doctors issue a prescription if medically safe and suitable
  • Valid in any Irish pharmacy to buy your medication
  • Prescription sent to your chosen pharmacy via secure email (Healthmail) within minutes of approval

Note: We can only ever prescribe for this treatment for patients that are at least 17 years of age.

The service is provided in accordance with your scheme rules and table of benefits, which you can find on Member Area on or by calling 021 202 2000.