Difference between BV and Yeast
Metronidazole vaginal gel can be helpful for bacterial vaginosis but harmful for a yeast infection. The two conditions are similar but require different treatments. Bacterial vaginosis (also known as BV) can lead to a fishy smelling odor, vaginal burning, itching and a milky discharge. The condition can have multiple symptoms present or none at all. A vaginal yeast infection is a fungus, specifically Candida albicans. The symptoms also include burning, itching and a cottage cheese-like discharge. Yeast infections do not typically involve any kind of odor.
How Metronidazole Gel Helps BV
Metronidazole is an agent that is both antiprotozoal and anaerobic antibacterial. Metronidazole affects the DNA of bacteria by inhibiting synthesis. The anaerobic bacteria breaks down the metronidazole into an active form, which then causes a malfunction in the helical structure of the bacteria's DNA. This keeps the bacteria from multiplying and it will eventually cause cell death.
How Metronidazole Gel Can Lead to a Yeast Infection
Metronidazole does not distinguish between good bacteria and bad bacteria. When treating BV, the gel often kills both kinds of bacteria. The problem is that the good bacteria in the vaginal area regulates against other problems occurring. A common side effect of using metronidazole is a yeast infection. This is why the gel should not be used to treat a yeast infection, because it may just exacerbate the problem. Metronidazole treats bacteria, not fungus.
Antimycotics, antifungal drugs, are typically used to treat a yeast infection as opposed to metronidazole. Some common drugs that treat the fungus are topical nystatin, topical clotrimazole, topical ketoconazole and fluconazole. Because resistance can be built up to these drugs, the most important thing to keep in mind is maintaining a healthy vaginal area. This will lead to less instances of both BV and yeast infections.