For the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, an antibiotic called metronidazole can be prescribed to prevent the infection from spreading and help to quickly clear up the infection.
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Metronidazole is an antibiotic which is used to treat a number of bacterial infections including bacterial vaginosis. This treatment is available in the forms of oral tablets or a topical vaginal gel.
The antibiotic, Metronidazole, is also the active ingredient of some rosacea treatments such as Rozex and Metrogel.
When taking any course of antibiotics, it is important to complete the course of treatment completely, even if you feel better or the infection has cleared. Ceasing antibiotic treatments too early can cause your infection to return.
The amount of metronidazole you take and how long you take it for depend on the severity of your infection and the administrative route of the medicine. Always follow the doctors instructions when taking antibiotics.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal infection which affects 1 in 3 women in the UK. While it is not classed as an STI, the infection can be triggered by sexual intercourse and even passed on from one woman to another during sex.
There are a number of potential causes of BV, including:
BV is often mistaken for thrush due to the similarities in the symptoms the two infections cause. The difference between the two conditions lies in the consistency and odour of vaginal discharge. While thrush often produce a thick, odourless discharge which looks similar to cottage cheese, the discharge associated with bacterial vaginosis is often thin, watery and foul or fishy smelling.
If you notice a change in your vaginal discharge, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Metronidazole is an antibiotic which kills bacteria by interfering and altering the DNA of the bacteria.
The change inhibits the cells' ability to reproduce, stopping the infection from spreading. This gives the immune system a better chance of fighting the infection.
Metronidazole is only effective against bacteria which do not require oxygen to survive, also referred to as anaerobic bacteria.
Metronidazole is available in three formulations: capsules, tablets and vaginal gel. The form of the treatment depends on the severity of the infection.
For the treatment of a bacterial infection, such as bacterial vaginosis, adults should start with an 800 mg dose. After 8 hours have elapsed, 400 mg should be taken every 8 hours.
Swallow each capsule whole with a glass of water. Metronidazole capsules can be taken with or without food.
Swallow each tablet whole with a glass of water. Take Metronidazole tablets without food.
Vaginal gel is applied internally into the vagina using the provided applicator.
Fill the applicator to the indicated line with the gel. Insert the applicator into the vagina While gently removing the applicator, dispense the Metronidazole gel into your vagina.
Depending on the severity of your condition, the doctor will determine the most appropriate course of treatment for you.
If you are not sure how to take the medicine prescribed to you, read the enclosed patient information leaflet or speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
It is vital to complete the course of antibiotics you have been prescribed to prevent the infection from coming back.
Metronidazole has the potential of causing side effects, though not everybody gets them. Understanding the risks associated with the medicine you are taking is essential.
Common side effects of Metronidazole include:
If you notice any of the side effects listed below, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
Very rare side effects of metronidazole (affects less than 1 in 10,000 people)
This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. For the complete list of side effects, consult the patient information leaflet which is enclosed with your medicine.
If you experience any side effects, report them to your doctor. You can also speak to a pharmacist about how to mange your side effects. The NHS website has a tool to find your nearest pharmacy.
Metronidazole is not suitable for everyone. By filling out our confidential medical questionnaire, our prescribers will be able to determine whether it is safe to take Metronidazole or not.
Do not take Metronidazole if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. If you notice the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, cease taking Metronidazole and speak to your doctor or go straight to your nearest hospital.
Signs of an allergic reaction include:
Speak to your doctor before using Metronidazole if you:
It is important to use the medication as instructed by the doctor.
Always keep your medicine out of the sight and reach of children.
You should not take Metronidazole if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you become pregnant while taking Metronidazole, speak to your doctor as soon as possible for further advice.
If you forget to take Metronidazole, take it as soon as you remember.
If it is near the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue using Metronidazole as you normally would.
To help you remember when to take your next dose of Metronidazole, put your medicine in a place where you are most likely to remember it or a place where you will see it to prompt you to take it.
Alternatively, you could set a reminder on your phone which will prompt you near the time of your next dose.
If you accidentally use more Metronidazole than you should, speak to your doctor immediately or visit your nearest hospitals' casualty department.
Overdose symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, metallic taste, headache, nausea and changes in sleeping patters such as insomnia or drowsiness.
You should not stop taking Metronidazole unless your doctor has instructed that it is safe to do so.
Antibiotics, such as Metronidazole, should not be stopped early. Stopping treatment with an antibiotic early runs the risk of recurrent infections.
Always complete your course of antibiotics unless your doctor has instructed you otherwise.
Depending on the formulation, severity of infection and many other factors about the patient, it can take between 3 and 14 days.
Most courses of Metronidazole last for a week (7 days).
The doctor will determine how long you should take the medicine for in order to clear the infection.
Drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics can lower their effectiveness. You should avoid alcohol drinks and mouthwash while taking Metronidazole.
You will be able to drink alcohol once 48 hours has passed since your final dose of Metronidazole.
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