Aunt Vadge: Did my partner give me a Gardnerella infection?

Hello Aunt Vadge,

I have a Gardnerella vaginalis infection. I have one partner, for years. How did I get it? Should I worry that it is from my partner? Your website is one of the fews that says that it can be an STD.

Thanks,
Infected
Age 42, South Africa

Dear Infected,

The thing with G. vaginalis is that it lives happily in the bodies of humans – men, women, and children have all had G. vaginalis found in their colons and vaginas, but not everyone. Lots of us, though. And no, you should not worry that it is from your partner, despite the fact that it is indeed possible that it has been sexually transmitted. Sexual transmission is just not necessarily the prime reason women get infected with the pathogenic form of Gardnerella vaginalis, and it turns into the problem of bacterial vaginosis (BV).

It is usually very difficult to tell if women who got BV got it from their partner, who was also sleeping with another woman who has BV in her vagina – there is evidence to suggest that when Gardnerella is sexually transmitted from an infected penis, it is only within weeks of it being in contact with an infected vagina. Men, lucky things, get rid of the infection quickly once contact with the infection is ceased for about two weeks.

This means that there is a very, very good chance that you have developed BV all by yourself, and it would be unwise and very unfair at this point to lay the blame on your partner. Gardnerella can be passed sexually, but it is not the only way you can have an overgrowth of it, not by a long shot, and it would be far wiser to take a good, hard look at your own body first.

Anyone at any time can develop a Gardnerella infection, with the reasons many and varied, but primarily, your vagina hasn’t got enough good bacteria to protect itself. If you have caught the infection soon enough, it is far easier to treat – those biofilms are sticky buggers and they only grow bigger and stronger, so get onto it now.

We have written the Killing BV book to help with clearing up the biofilm constructed by Gardnerella and friends, and getting your vagina back on track. There is tons of information on this site about BV – it’s one of our mainstay topics – so browse, check out the research, and figure out what your next move is. The book is highly recommended and an excellent read, since it condenses all the research and all of our clinical knowledge and experience into a very readable format, plus guides you through a treatment plan.

If you need any more help, please get in touch anytime, and if you do decide to go the Killing BV route, don’t forget we offer you free email support along your journey.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.
Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

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