Gardenerella vaginalis is just one of many causes of bacterial vaginosis caused by an increased production of the naturally occurring bacteria G. vaginalis. It is presumed to be a sexually transmitted disease and is often found in conjunction with a variety of other anaerobic bacteria. Although uncomfortable and embarrassing, it is easily treated through a selection of anti-protozoal medications, as well as through at-home care to alleviate pain and odor.
The most common symptom of gardnerella vaginalis is a "fishy" smelling discharge. The discharge is typically gray or yellow. Although uncommon, irritation of the vagina and vulva, as well as itching, may occur. Other symptoms may include pain during sex and while urinating, and occasional bleeding.
Symptoms may vary depending on the type of vaginitis. The color and consistency of the vaginal discharge can help with the diagnosis, as they are typically different. A yeast infection may have a discharge that resembles cottage cheese, while a parasitic vaginal infection may present with a greenish-yellow discharge with a frothy consistency.
The gardnerella strain of bacterial vaginosis is most commonly treated with a 500-mg oral dose of metronidazole, taken twice a day for six days. Possible side effects include flulike symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and fatigue, as well as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. It may also react with other drugs, such as warfarin, and therefore you should tell your doctor of any medications you are currently taking.
Another medication, cephadrine, may be taken four times a day for six days, though this only has an effect on the gardnerella bacteria and not on any associated anaerobic bacteria.
Other medications used for treating bacterial vaginosis in general include clindamycin and tinidazole, the latter of which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May 2007 for the specific treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Any medication for any variation of bacterial vaginosis should be taken in its entirety, even if symptoms clear up within a day or two.
A couple of at-home remedies such as douching with cold water may help alleviate irritation, though this should be done very sporadically, as excessive douching can actually lead to increased irritation. Additionally, soaking in a cool bath or applying cold compresses to the vagina may help alleviate pain, irritation and inflammation.
These are typically more effective for the treatment of a fungal-produced yeast infection, though there isn't any reason to think they won't help alleviate uncomfortable symptoms, at least temporarily.