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Gardnerella vaginalis: what is it, causes and treatment

Gardnerella vaginalis is also called bacterial vaginosis. It is a bacteria that inhabits the female intimate region, but is usually found in very low concentrations and does not produce any type of problem or symptom.

However, when Gardnerella concentrations increase because of risk factors such as smoking, frequent vaginal hygiene, or multiple sexual partners, a vaginal infection, known as bacterial vaginosis or Gardnerella vaginitis, may develop.

This infection causes symptoms such as foul smell and yellowish discharge, but can be easily treated with antibiotics prescribed by the doctor and it is therefore recommended to consult a gynecologist whenever changes occur in the intimate region

Gardnerella vaginalis: what is it, causes and treatment

Main symptoms

The main symptoms that emerge from an infection with Gardnerella vaginalis are:

  • Yellowish or greyish discharge;
  • Foul smell, similar to rotten fish;
  • Itching or burning sensation in the vagina;
  • Pain during intercourse.

In addition, there are cases in which the woman may experience minor bleeding, especially after intercourse. In these cases, the foul smell may become even more intense, especially if a condom has not been used.

When this type of symptoms arise it is advised that the woman go to a gynecologist for tests such as the pap smear, which helps to detect other infections such as trichomoniasis or gonorrhea, because they have similar symptoms but are treated differently.

In men, the bacteria can also cause symptoms such as swelling and redness of the gland, pain during urination or penile itching. These cases emerge when woman have the infection and have unprotected intercourse.

How can you be infected

There is still no specific cause for the onset of Gardnerella vaginalis infection, however, factors such as having multiple sexual partners, frequent vaginal hygiene or smoking appear to be related to an increased risk of having the infection.

This infection can not be considered a sexually transmitted disease, because it also develops in women who have not yet had sex.

To avoid getting this infection some recommendations include maintaining proper intimate hygiene, using a condom in all sexual relationships and avoid wearing very tight underwear.

How is treatment done

Treatment should always be recommended by a gynecologist and include the use of antibiotics such as:

  • Metronidazole:
  • Clindamycin;
  • Ampicillin.

These medication should be used between 5 to 7 days and can be found in the form of tablets or as a vaginal cream, however, in pregnant women, treatment should preferably be done with tablets.

If the symptoms do not disappear after the treatment period, you should inform you doctor, because if left untreated, Gardnerella vaginalis infection may lead to more serious complications such as uterine, urinary tract or fallopian tube infections.

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