will bacterial vaginosis go away on its own

Bacterial vaginosis may clear up on its own, however, in some women, it doesn’t go away on its own. For many women, it comes back after it has cleared up.1

What happens if I don’t get treated? 2

Bacterial vaginosis left untreated can cause some serious health risks, including:

  • Increasing your chance of getting HIV if you have sex with someone who is infected with HIV
  • If you are HIV positive, increasing your chance of passing HIV to your sex partner
  • Making it more likely that you will deliver your baby too early if you have BV while pregnant
  • Increasing your chance of getting other STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. These bacteria can sometimes cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can make it difficult or impossible for you to have children.

Treatment options for bacterial vaginosis.

The most effective treatments for bacterial vaginosis are prescribed antibiotics like metronidazole. 3a

They are available as oral medications, which are taken by mouth, or as a gel or cream, both of which are inserted into the vagina with an applicator. 3

Your doctor may prescribe one of the following medications:

  • Metronidazole – available in oral and gel form
    NOTE: Metronidazole may cause an upset stomach and nausea, so avoid alcohol during treatment and for at least one day after completing treatment 4
  • Clindamycin – available as a cream
    NOTE: Clindamycin cream may weaken latex condoms during treatment and for at least three days after you stop using the cream 4
  • Tinidazole – taken orally.
    NOTE: Tinidazole may cause an upset stomach and nausea, so avoid alcohol during treatment and for at least one day after completing treatment 4

Oral regimens have been reported to have a longer duration of treatment as compared to topical regimens, which means you must take it for a longer period of time. Vaginal gel’s containing metronidazole have fewer side effects on your digestive system and is as effective as oral treatment. 5,6,7

Take your medicine or use the cream or gel for as long as your doctor prescribes it — even if your symptoms go away. Stopping treatment early may increase the risk of recurrence. 4

DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Name and business address of the holder of the certificate of registration: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd,. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07, 15e Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. For further information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. IN3195/19


  1. Michigan Medicine. University of Michigan. Bacterial Vaginosis. [online] 6 October 2017 [Cited] 6 November 2018. Available from URL: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw53097#hw53134
  2. Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC Fact Sheet. [online] 2 December 2016 [Cited] 6 November 2018. Available from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/bv-fact-sheet-dec-2016.pdf
  3. What are the treatments for bacterial vaginosis (BV)? [online] 12 January 2016 [Cited] 5 November 2018. Available from URL: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/bacterialvag/conditioninfo/treatments
  4. Mayo Clinic. Bacterial vaginosis. Diagnosis. [online] 29 July 2017. [Cited] 5 November 2018. Available from URL https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bacterial-vaginosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352285?p=1
  5. Hainer BL and Gibson MV. Vaginitis: Diagnosis and Treatment. Am Fam Phys 2011;83(7):807-815.
  6. Hanson JM, McGregor JA, Hillier SL, et al. Metronidazole for Bacterial Vaginosis A Comparison of Vaginal Gel vs Oral Therapy. JRM 2000;45(11):889-896.
  7. Urfa TA, Javeria M, Hanif A. Comparison of Intravaginal Versus Oral Metronidazole in the Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis in Obstetrical Patients. PJMHS 2017;11(2):519-522.