Gardnerella, specifically referring to Gardnerella vaginalis, is a type of bacteria that is often associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common vaginal infection. While Gardnerella is a normal part of the vaginal flora, an imbalance can lead to an overgrowth, resulting in BV. It is not considered a classic sexually transmitted infection (STI), but its occurrence can be influenced by sexual activity....


What are the symptoms of Gardnerella?

  • Thin, gray, or white vaginal discharge
  • A strong, fish-like odor, especially after sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal itching
  • Burning during urination
  • Some women with Gardnerella may not experience any symptoms

How soon after exposure should I get tested for Gardnerella?

Testing for Gardnerella or bacterial vaginosis is recommended if you experience symptoms such as unusual discharge or a strong vaginal odor. Since Gardnerella is part of the normal vaginal flora, its presence alone doesn’t necessarily indicate an infection. A healthcare provider will diagnose BV based on symptoms, pH levels of the vagina, and the presence of certain bacterial cells under a microscope. Testing immediately after potential exposure may not be conclusive, and symptoms are often a better indicator.

What is the treatment for Gardnerella?

Treatment for Gardnerella vaginalis infection or bacterial vaginosis typically involves antibiotics. Metronidazole and clindamycin are commonly prescribed, either as oral medication or as a topical cream or gel. It is important to complete the full course of prescribed antibiotics, even if symptoms improve. Sexual partners generally do not need to be treated, but avoiding sexual intercourse during treatment is often advised.

How can I protect myself from Gardnerella?

To reduce the risk of Gardnerella overgrowth and bacterial vaginosis, maintaining a healthy vaginal flora is key. This includes avoiding douching, wearing breathable, cotton underwear, and using mild, unscented soap for genital hygiene. While condoms may not prevent BV, they can help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the vagina. Regular gynecological check-ups are also important for overall vaginal health.

Test(s) that measure/test for Gardnerella

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