Chapter 18: Sexually transmitted infections
Bacterial vaginosis (BV, gardnerella)
Bacterial vaginosis is not sexually transmitted. It is not usually dangerous, but
it can cause pregnant women to have their babies too soon or get an infection
after the birth.
Signs of bacterial vaginosis
• more discharge than usual
• a bad, fishy smell from the vagina, especially after sex
• mild itching
To treat bacterial vaginosis
If the woman is pregnant:
She should wait until after the end of the third month. This drug is not safe in
the first 3 months of pregnancy. After the third month:
• give 400 to 500 mg metronidazole ����������������������������by mouth, 2 times a day
for 7 days
• put one 500 mg metronidazole insert �������������������high in the vagina,
every night for 7 nights
Itching of the genitals
Itching of the genitals can have many causes. Itching around the opening
of the vagina could be yeast or trichomonas.
Itching in the hair of the genitals or close to
the genitals could be caused by scabies or lice.
Scabies or lice can be treated with local remedies,
or with medicines found in most pharmacies.
For more information, see Where There Is No
Doctor or another general medical book.
Some itching is caused by soaps or deodorants
that have perfume in them. It can also be caused
by plants and herbs that are used for douching or
washing out the vagina. Wash with plain water
and see if the itching goes away.
A Book for Midwives (2010)