Use of Metronidazole for Bacterial Vaginosis


Bacterial vaginosis is a common infection in women in their child-bearing years that develops when the balance of bacteria in the vagina is disturbed and certain bacteria grow out of control. Common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include vaginal discharge with a strong, fishy odor. Many women with the infection have no symptoms at all. Because it is a bacterial infection, it can be treated with an antibiotic. Metronidazole is often used because it is effective in clearing up infections of the vagina, stomach, skin and respiratory tract.

How It Works

Metronidazole is classified as an antiprotozoal and antibacterial drug that works by entering the bacterial cells causing an infection and then acting on the cell in a way that causes it to die. It is not known exactly how the drug is able to kill the offending bacteria.

How to Use It

Metronidazole is available in many forms depending on what type of infection it is being used to treat. In women with bacterial vaginosis, a gel that is applied to the vaginal area is usually prescribed. The gel is typically prescribed to be applied twice daily, in the morning and the evening. Patients should follow their doctor's orders for how much to apply. A typical course of metronidazole is five days, and it's important to finish all the prescribed medication even if your symptoms dissipate.

Side Effects

Most women using metronidazole to treat bacterial vaginosis will not experience any side effects, but some may notice nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, pelvic discomfort, an upset stomach, an unusual taste in the mouth or vaginal irritation. None of these is cause for concern.

In rare cases, women using the drug may develop serious side effects that could indicate a potential complication requiring medical treatment. Stop using the medicine and notify your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following: fever, chills or sore throat; severe or persistent vaginal irritation; depression; numbness, burning or tingling of the arms, legs, hands or feet; seizures; unusual bruising or bleeding; and stomach pain.


Metronidazole vaginal gel is not safe for all women, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Additionally, the medicine should not be taken by women who have Crohn's disease, a history of liver problems or nerve, blood or brain problems. Always discuss your full medical history with your doctor before taking any prescription medications.

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