Can You Have Permanent BV?

Can You Have Permanent BV?

It is very common for women between the ages of 15-40 to get a bacterial infection like BV at least once in their lifetime as the intimate bacteria can be very susceptible to ‘bad’ bacteria; which leads to an increased risk of contracting BV. Now we will not be going through what can cause a woman to get BV in today's post, as this is something we have covered in many previous posts. For further reading on this topic, we have included a direct link to a recent post titled: What is the main cause of BV? 

Today's post will be focused on why your BV has not gone away even after treatments. In addition, we will also be highlighting what can happen if your BV is chronic and if it is incurable. You can clear up BV; it is curable, but if you are getting it regularly, you might not be focusing on prevention as a part of your treatment…

Why hasn't my BV gone away with antibiotics?

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know when BV has cleared up even after taking antibiotics as it can depend on the severity of your infection as well as your treatment type. For instance, a mild form of Bacterial Vaginosis can clear up in as little as 3-5 days but it is still advised to take any treatment for at least 7 days. This allows for the oral medication or treatment gel to have enough time to be effective as prematurely stopping your antibiotics, for instance, might not have completely cleared up your Bacterial Vaginosis. When you stop taking your treatment for BV, this can render the treatment useless as if it’s not completely cleared up then a recurring infection will appear to be a new one. Where it could be the same infection that hadn't cleared up properly. Ending your treatment too soon is the number one reason that antibiotics are deemed not effective in clearing up BV! Any treatment should be taken for the full course but still cannot be expected to prevent any future breakouts as there might be a reason for your BV infection. That is when you would need to look at whether you are contributing to the disruption in your vaginal bacteria. Again you might want to use the above link to read through the main causes of BV. You might be surprised just how much of a role your diet, underwear, intimate hygiene and sexual activity can all have on your intimate health; thus impacting your vaginal bacteria and leaving it vulnerable to ‘bad’ and ‘unfriendly’ bacteria. 

So, to clarify, if you believe your antibiotics have not worked then this could be for one or two reasons:

  1. You might not have cleared up your previous infection completely.
  2. You might not have focused on making changes to prevent future breakouts.

What happens if my BV won't go away?

If you are sure that you followed your course of treatment, made yourself aware of how you might be affecting your pH & vaginal bacteria and made those necessary changes but you still cannot clear up your Bacterial Vaginosis; then it might be time to seek further medical advice. Your doctor might want to take a swab to ensure that your off-colour discharge (symptoms of BV) is not linked to something else. If it is confirmed that your discharge is just a symptom of BV then they will be able to offer you a course of antibiotic treatment oral or gel. 

Recurring BV can be common and can usually appear within just a few months. Usually, antibiotics can treat BV infections to ensure they do not reoccur again but our intimate health can be subject to ‘bad’ bacteria quite easily; therefore another BV infection after a few months is not unheard of. Although, if you have persistent BV (Bacterial Vaginosis more than four times a year) that does not seem to be clearing up with antibiotics, you might be advised a different treatment. If you keep getting BV, your doctor might recommend you use an antibiotics gel that you apply directly inside your vagina. This form of treatment is one of the most effective as it can be applied directly to the ‘infected’ area and is expected to clear up symptoms within 2-3 days.

Can BV be incurable?

Bacterial Vaginosis is an imbalance of vaginal bacteria; it's a common condition with several treatment options available. For many women, one course of treatment is effective enough to clear up their BV but for other women, the condition may recur or become chronic. Persistent or chronic BV might require multiple and sometimes long-term treatments but it is curable! Many cases of recurring or chronic BV might be more severe or require more follow-on aftercare to ensure that an infection is cleared up and prevented from returning. Whilst it can be a nuisance to have to BV for a long period, it is curable and will clear up eventually. 

If treatment gels and oral antibiotics only seem to clear up your BV temporarily then it might be time to also look into prevention to stop BV from recurring…

  • Ensure your underwear is cotton, and dry - do not sit in any damp (sweaty) clothing 
  • Avoid using any douching or heavily scented hygiene products 
  • Wear condoms when sexually active to avoid vaginal bacterial disruption
  • Consider taking daily probiotic supplements to help regulate ‘healthy’ bacteria in the vagina
  • Limit sugary foods and unhealthy fats in your diet and each more fibrous and fermented foods

Chronic BV can be difficult to clear up, so prevention and follow-up care are important to avoid it being a long-term issue and keep your vagina healthy and balanced! 

For further reading on this topic, you can head over to our Health Insiders Blog catalogue. We have published several posts related to the topic of Bacterial Vaginosis and plan to continue exploring this topic through the next handful of blog posts.