Vaginal infections---The #1 reason women see their doctors
Most women will experience at least 1 vaginal infection in their lifetime. In fact, vaginal
infections are the #1 reason adult women see their doctors, accounting for 10 million
You should be aware that all vaginal infections are not the same. The 3 most common
1. bacterial vaginosis (vaj-i-no-sis), also called BV
2. candidiasis (kan-dah-di-a-sis), more commonly known as yeast infection
3. trichomoniasis (trick-a-mon-i-a-sis), or trich
Most women have heard about yeast infections. But few women have ever heard about
BV, the #1 vaginal infection in the United States. Yeast infections are the only vaginal
infections that can be treated with over-the-counter medicines.
Before treating your vaginal symptoms with over-the-counter medicines, be sure to see
your health care professional because it is difficult to diagnose yourself. In one study, 2
out of 3 women who thought they had a yeast infection actually did not.
Vaginal infections can be accompanied by a variety of symptoms. Can you be sure what
type of infection is causing your symptoms?
It's important to see your health care professional.
Only your health care professional can determine exactly what type of infection you
have. And only then can you get the best treatment, because different infections respond
to different types of medicines. Yeast infection medicines, for example, are completely
3 Do not treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medicines
4 See a health care professional for a proper diagnosis of your infection
BV------The #1 vaginal infection in the United States
BV (bacterial vaginosis) is the #1 vaginal infection in women of child-bearing age. BV
occurs when the natural balance of organisms in the vagina changes, allowing harmful
bacteria to grow. Why this change occurs is not well known. It's possible that a number
of different organisms are involved in this type of infection. What we do know is that
BV seems to be more common in women who are sexually active. But it's very important
to know that you could have BV even if you aren't sexually active.
How does BV differ from other vaginal infections?
Review the table of common vaginal infections to compare the different symptoms of
each infection. The table may help you determine what kind of infection you have.
BV is diagnosed with a few easy steps. Your health care professional will consider all
the information you provide and then perform some simple tests to determine if you have
BV. Ask your health care professional about BV screening because your health care
professional may test for BV only if you mention vaginal symptoms. Your annual Pap
Not all vaginal infections are the same
What should I tell my health care professional about my symptoms?
Your health care professional may not routinely screen for BV or other vaginal
infections. It may be up to you to start a discussion about vaginal symptoms. Even
though the symptoms can be unpleasant to discuss, it's important that you give your
health care professional as much information as you can. Your health care professional is
used to hearing these types of details. So don't be embarrassed to discuss odor,
discharge, and itching. Even if you don't have symptoms, ask to be screened for BV at
Talking to your health care professional about BV
1 Write all of your questions down before going for your visit
2 Specifically mention BV early in your discussion
3 Let your health care professional know why you suspect BV
4 Mention specific symptoms -----Odor, Discharge, Itching
What health problems have been associated with BV?
BV may be associated with other serious health problems. Gynecological problems, such
as pelvic inflammatory disease, post-surgical infections, and abnormal Pap smears, may
be associated with BV. Obstetric problems may also be seen in pregnant women with
BV. That's why it's important to treat BV as effectively as possible.
Since BV is a bacterial infection, antibacterial medicines are used for treatment. These
medicines are available only with prescriptions from your health care professional. The
most commonly used medicine is metronidazole. It is available as tablets and as a
vaginal gel. MetroGel-Vaginal® (metronidazole vaginal gel, 0.75%) is the #1 prescribed
Medicines you can buy at a drug store just don't work against bacterial infections like
BV. So don't be tempted to try these medicines before seeing your health care
professional. You may end up doing more harm than good. Other products to avoid are
douches or feminine hygiene sprays. They may mask unpleasant odor, but they do
nothing to treat the infection, and they may make it more difficult for a health care
professional to diagnose BV. These products may actually contribute to the development
Most health care professionals will not treat sexual partners. However, if the infection
returns, a health care professional may recommend it.
The most commonly reported side effects for MetroGel-Vaginal are vaginal discharge
(12% of patients), yeast infection (6% to 10%), irritation in or around the vagina (9%),
gastrointestinal discomfort (7%), and headache (5%).
MetroGel-Vaginal------The #1 vaginal treatment for BV
MetroGel-Vaginal® (metronidazole vaginal gel, 0.75%) is the vaginal treatment health
care professionals prescribe most for BV. MetroGel-Vaginal is clinically proven to cure
BV and works directly at the site of infection. If your health care professional diagnoses
Why might vaginal treatments, like MetroGel-Vaginal, work best for me?
BV is a local infection within the vagina. Vaginal treatments, like MetroGel-Vaginal,
allow you to apply antibacterial medicine directly and immediately to the site of
infection. Tablets that you swallow must be absorbed from the stomach into your
bloodstream before being delivered to the site of infection.
In addition, MetroGel-Vaginal works only where it's needed. This means that you have a
lower risk of side effects in other areas of your body. With MetroGel-Vaginal, you also
have fewer dosing restrictions. For example, unlike oral medicines for BV, you don't
need to take MetroGel-Vaginal on an empty stomach.
How often do I need to use MetroGel-Vaginal?
MetroGel-Vaginal offers convenient once-a-day dosing at bedtime. Just one applicator
full of MetroGel-Vaginal at bedtime for 5 days provides effective treatment for BV.
However, your health care professional may recommend you use MetroGel-Vaginal
twice a day. In order to achieve the best results, it is essential that you finish the full 5-
day course of treatment, even if your symptoms have disappeared. MetroGel-Vaginal is
supplied with 5 disposable applicators that make it easy to apply the gel properly.
MetroGel-Vaginal is available only with a prescription from your health care
professional. So when the diagnosis is BV, ask your health care professional about
The most commonly reported side effects for MetroGel-Vaginal are vaginal discharge (12% of patients),
yeast infection (6% to 10%), irritation in or around the vagina (9%), gastrointestinal discomfort (7%), and
Learn more about BV, the #1 vaginal infection.
For more information on BV and MetroGel-Vaginal® (metronidazole vaginal gel,
0.75%), call our toll-free helpline, 1-800-4-BV-NEWS (1-800-428-6397). Or visit us on
Sharon B. Mannheimer, M.D. Date of Preparation of CV Personal data Sharon Mannheimer Birthplace: Cleveland, OH Citizenship: US Academic Appointments 9/10-present Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine (in Epidemiology), College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY 1/11-present Assistant Dean, Student Affairs; Columbia University Affiliation
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