Online prescription antibiotics visits for Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

About Bacterial vaginosis

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Bacterial vaginosis - often referred to as BV - is a change in the bacteria within the vagina. The vagina contains naturally occurring bacteria and fungus that help protect the area and keep it clean. When this balance is thrown off, due to an overgrowth and/or change in the species of bacteria growing within it, it can result in bothersome symptoms.

Common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include:
  • Off-white, grey, or greenish vaginal discharge
  • A foul-smelling, “fishy” odor
  • Itching
  • Soreness or pain

BV is most common in women between the ages of 15 and 50, or women in their “reproductive years”. Nearly 1 in 3 women will experience bacterial vaginosis at some point in their lives.

This bacterial infection is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), although it may increase your risk of contracting one. There is no one cause of bacterial vaginosis. Common causes include:

- Sex: It is rare for women to develop bacterial vaginosis if they are not sexually active. Women with multiple sexual partners, women who have unprotected sex, and women who have sex with women are at greater risk of getting BV.

- Douching: Douching kills off good bacteria (lactobacilli) in the vagina, increasing the risk of bad bacteria (anaerobes) overgrowing and causing an infection.


Bacterial vaginosis is generally very treatable and rarely causes complications. If left untreated, however, it can increase your risk of contracting an STI or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes. In pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis has been linked to premature deliveries and babies that weigh less than normal.

Treatment Options

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Note that all prescriptions are at your provider's discretion.

Bacterial vaginosis may clear up on its own, but an ongoing infection can leave you susceptible to sexually transmitted infections and other complications. Therefore, if you are experiencing symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, talk to a health care provider. BV is commonly and effectively treated with a course of antibiotics. During your appointment, talk to your provider about the treatment that is best for you.

FAQs

Bacterial Vaginosis

What is a vaginal infection?

A vaginal infection, or vaginitis, is an inflammation of the vagina or vulva. It can be caused by a number of conditions, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, yeast infections, or an overgrowth of bacterial vaginosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause of vaginal symptoms, affecting almost 1 in 3 women in the US every year.

What is bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis - often referred to as BV - is a change in the bacteria within the vagina. The vagina contains naturally occurring bacteria and fungus that help protect the area and keep it clean. When this balance is thrown off, due to overgrowth and/or change in the species of bacteria growing within it, it can result in bothersome symptoms.

BV is most common in women between the ages of 15 and 50, or women in their “reproductive years”. Nearly 1 in 3 women will experience bacterial vaginosis at some point in their lives.

Bacterial vaginosis is generally very treatable and rarely causes complications. If left untreated, however, it can increase your risk of contracting an STI or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes. In pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis has been linked to premature deliveries and babies with dangerously low birth weight.

What causes bacterial vaginosis?

The vagina contains several different types of bacteria, generally broken into “good” bacteria (lactobacilli) and “bad” bacteria (anaerobes). The good bacteria keep bad bacteria in check, maintaining the general health of the vagina. However, bad bacteria can overgrow and cause an infection. This may be caused by poor hygiene, douching (which removes good bacteria from the vagina), or a natural lack of healthy vaginal flora.

What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis?

Over 80% of people who experience bacteria vaginosis do not experience symptoms. However, some common signs and symptoms of BV include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (often whitish, grey, or green vaginal fluid)
- Foul-smelling fishy smell from discharge or vaginal area
- Pain or burning sensations during urination
- Vaginal itching (a rare symptom)

Do I have bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection?

Identifying whether you have a vaginal yeast infection or BV lies in the color and consistency of your vaginal discharge. While yeast infections are normally scentless with a thick white consistency, BV discharge has a strong fishy odor and is thin, gray, or yellow in hue.

It is hard to differentiate the other symptoms of a yeast infection and BV due to the fact that they share similarities such as burning during urination and vaginal itching. In order to properly identify your vaginitis, an appointment with a women's health doctor may be needed.

If this is the first time you are experiencing these symptoms, or suspect that it is BV, you should see a doctor. BV will not go away on its own, and prescription medicine is necessary for treatment.

How do you get a vaginal infection?

There are many causes of vaginitis. Some common causes include:

Vaginal yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis): There are many reasons why you can get an overgrowth of Candida albicans, including high levels of estrogen, poor diet, antibiotics, and diabetes.

STDs: Different types of sexually transmitted diseases can cause vaginitis, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and trichomoniasis.

Bacterial overgrowth: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that involves the overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. New sex partners and douching are a few examples of how an imbalance of bacteria can occur in the vagina.

Foreign objects: Things like forgotten tampons, or tissue paper can irritate the tissues of the vagina.

Vaginitis is treatable based on its cause. While antibiotics treat BV, they may not treat vaginitis caused by a fungal infection. Speaking to a doctor about your symptoms can help reveal a diagnosis and treatment plan that's specific to your case. Sesame offers telehealth visits up to 60% off what you'd pay through an insurance carrier. Book a virtual consult with a gynecologist through Sesame and get ready to save.

Who is at risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is a very common condition that affects nearly 1 in 3 women. However, some factors may increase the risk of contracting a bacterial infection of the vagina. These risk factors include:
- Pregnancy
- Sexual activity with multiple partners
- Sex with a female partner
- Frequent douching (douching throws off vaginal PH balances, causing an overgrowth of bad bacteria)
- Use of vaginal deodorants
- Use of intravaginal contraceptive devices (like an IUD)

Is BV an STI?

No. While unprotected sex or having multiple sexual partners can increase your risk of developing BV, it is not an infection that is passed through sexual activity.

How is BV treated?

Bacterial vaginosis may clear up on its own, but an ongoing infection can leave you susceptible to sexually transmitted infections and other complications. Therefore, if you are experiencing symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, talk to a health care provider. BV is commonly and effectively treated with antibiotic treatment. These medications include:

- Metronidazole (generic for Flagyl): Available as an oral tablet or medicated vaginal cream or vaginal gel. Metronidazole may cause nausea or an upset stomach. Because of this, avoid alcohol use while taking this medication.

- Tinidazole: Tinidazole is available as an oral tablet. Like oral metronidazole, it can cause abdominal pain and an upset stomach. Talk to your doctor if you experience any adverse effects while taking this medication.

- Secnidazole: Secnidazole is available as a fine powder that is meant to be taken with food. Simply sprinkle the powder over soft food such as applesauce or yogurt, and be careful not to bite down on the powdered crystals. Secnidazole is usually taken as a single dose.

In addition to these antibiotics, your doctor may recommend clindamycin cream (generic for Cleocin or Clindesse). This medication is applied by inserting it into the vagina through a small applicator or suppositories. Clindamycin can weaken the latex of condoms during treatment and for up to three days after discontinuing use.

It is common for bacterial vaginosis to recur. If you experience frequent infections, talk to your health care provider. Long-term antibiotic use may be recommended for those who struggle with recurring BV.

Can you get rid of bacterial vaginosis without antibiotics?

Though there are at-home treatments that may help treat and prevent BV, these won't likely be as effective as prescription antibiotics. If you think you may have a vaginal infection, you should seek professional medical care.

Some home remedies include boosting your immune system by taking vitamin C, taking supplements with antifungal qualities such as garlic, and eating yogurt with good bacteria called lactobacilli.

Can I prevent BV?

You can take several simple steps to help prevent BV, including:

- Use latex condoms. Unprotected sexual activity has been linked to BV, so use latex condoms during sex to minimize your risk of contracting an infection.

- Limit sexual partners. BV has been linked to sex with new partners, or those who have multiple sexual partners. Limiting your sexual partners may help minimize your risk of contracting BV or STIs.

- Don’t douche. Douching eliminates good bacteria from the vagina, which can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Avoid douching and using cleansing products on the vagina.

- Avoid irritation. Wear breathable - preferably cotton - underwear to wick moisture from the genital area and prevent irritation. Avoid scented cleaning products and tampons.

What kind of doctor should I see about BV?

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of BV, or experience recurrent BV, talk to a Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) to create a treatment plan that can prevent future infections.

What is a gynecologist?

Gynecologists are doctors who specialize in women’s health and the female reproductive system, which includes the vagina, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Most gynecologists are also doctors of obstetrics (practices associated with childbirth, pregnancy, and postpartum care), which is why gynecologists are often called OB/GYNs. Gynecologists can treat issues related to menstruation, fertility, STIs, menopause, and hormones.

When should I see an OB/GYN?

Gynecological visits can help address concerns you may have about your reproductive system. Some conditions or concerns an OB/GYN can help with are:
- Questions or concerns about the female reproductive system, including breasts, uterus, vulva, ovaries, and urological symptoms.
- Issues or concerns regarding fertility, pregnancy, menstrual health, and contraception.
- Issues regarding incontinence.
- Questions about sexual health, libido, and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Concerns about urinary tract infections (UTIs), and yeast infections.


Connect with a real, licensed gynecologist near you to get your questions answered and conditions addressed - all for one affordable, cash price. Sesame works directly with doctors - not insurance companies - to get you the care you need without surprise bills or confusing copays.

When should I see an OB/GYN over video?

Video appointments offer you a convenient, affordable way to get care without leaving the house. Video OB/GYN consults can help address several questions and concerns about women’s health, and the health of the female reproductive system, including:
- Questions or concerns about the female reproductive system, including breasts, uterus, vulva, ovaries, and urological symptoms.
- Issues or concerns regarding fertility, pregnancy, menstrual health, and contraception.
- Issues regarding urinary incontinence.
- Questions about sexual health, libido, and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Concerns about urinary tract infections (UTIs), and yeast infections.


Note that in some cases, your doctor may recommend in-person follow-up care, if appropriate.

How do I find an OB/GYN near me?

Right here! Sesame offers convenient, affordable OB/GYN visits in cities across the country! Simply type "gynecologist" or "OB/GYN" in our search bar to find a real, quality women's health care provider near you. From infections to discomfort, doctors on Sesame can help diagnose and treat gynecological conditions for women of all ages.

Have questions or concerns about your reproductive health? Book a consult on Sesame with a licensed OB/GYN to discuss any health concerns you may have.

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What questions should I ask an OB/GYN?

Seeing an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) is your opportunity to get any questions or concerns you have about your reproductive health answered and addressed.

If you have any health concerns, or just want more information, it's a good idea to go to your appointment with a list of questions you may want to ask. Specific questions may vary depending on your age, sexual activity, and health history. Some common questions are:
- Do I need any vaccinations?
- Am I at high risk for any developing cancers or infections?
- How do I reduce the risk of breast cancer or cervical cancer?
- How often should I get cancer screenings and breast exams?
- How heavy should my menstrual flow be?
- What should I expect while going through menopause?
- What type of contraception is best for me?
- How often should I get tested for an STI?


Some women feel more comfortable seeing a female gynecologist. When you book a visit on Sesame, you get to pick the doctor you want to see - not the one your insurance company makes you see.

What is the difference between an obstetrician and a gynecologist?

Obstetricians and gynecologists are very similar - but there are some differences between the two.

Obstetrics:

Obstetrics deals specifically with all aspects of pregnancy, including prenatal and postnatal care. Obstetricians are responsible for delivering babies and treating pregnancy-related issues, such as fetal distress and ectopic pregnancies (the fetus grows outside of the uterus). Obstetricians, along with endocrinologists, can also provide therapy to help with fertility and pregnancy issues.

Gynecology:

Gynecologists specialize in the female reproductive system and treat a broad array of women's health conditions.

Gynecologists help women with reproductive issues from their first period through menopause. Gynecologists will also perform a number of regular tests and exams, such as:
- Pap smear (to screen for cervical cancer)
- Breast exams (screening for breast cancer)
- Pelvic exams (screening for ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, STIs, and cancer)


Gynecologists can also be consulted for:
- Contraceptive/ birth control counseling
- Endometriosis treatment
- Abnormal/ irregular menstruation
- Polyps in the reproductive system (usually in the cervix or vagina)
- Infection (such as UTIs or STIs)


Most doctors will undergo training to specialize in both obstetrics and gynecology. This allows the provider to offer more complete and comprehensive care to patients. Providers who specialize in both obstetrics and gynecology are known as OB/GYNs.

Can I see an OB/GYN over video?

Yep! Doctors on Sesame can diagnose, treat, manage, and screen for a variety of questions and conditions related to women's health. Common things addressed over video with patients include contraceptives and birth control, menopause, questions regarding prenatal conditions or pregnancy, urinary incontinence, UTIs and other vaginal infections, and more. While some services generally cannot be performed over video, like cancer screenings, Sesame offers in-person visits in select cities for any conditions you may not be able to address over video.

What services can OB/GYNs provide?

OB/GYNs have special training to be able to diagnose and treat conditions related to women's health and the female reproductive system. Visits to an OB/GYN clinic play a key role in maintaining your health and wellness and in staying one step ahead of chronic conditions. Some common health services provided by an OB/GYN include:
- Pap smears
- Pelvic exams
- Breast exams/ breast cancer screening
- STI tests
- Ultrasounds
- Fertility/ Contraceptive counseling


If you are dealing with a health concern or medical condition, an OB/GYN has the training to perform a number of surgeries and procedures such as:
- Removal of cysts on ovaries (ovarian cysts)
- Uterine fibroid removal
- Cesarean sections
- Hysterectomy
- Reconstructive surgery
- Endometriosis therapy


Depending on your health history or health concerns, an OB/GYN may provide a referral for a specialist such as an endocrinologist or a doctor of urogynecology.

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At what age should a woman start seeing an OB/GYN?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that girls first see an OB/GYN between the ages of 13-15. Many issues and concerns before the age of 13 can be handled by a primary care physician. The first visit with an OB/GYN may just be a talk about development. There may be personal questions about puberty, menstrual periods, and sexual activity. Most girls will not need a Pap smear or pelvic exam on their first visit unless they are experiencing abnormal pain or bleeding.
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