Aunt Vadge: Gardnerella UTI, but NP says it’s BV – help!

A cute lil Gardnerella vaginalis stands in the bladder in a puddle of yellow pee looking cool wearing sunglasses - he's where he's not meant to be and feeling smug.

Hi Aunt Vadge,

I am perimenopausal, with symptoms, but I’ve also got urinary tract symptoms that are bothering me. I’ve been PCR tested for bacteria in the bladder and vgina, and my bladder test came back positive for Gardnerella.

However, the nurse practitioner said this was contamination from my vagina, and that actually I have bacterial vaginosis.

I have no vaginal symptoms, and a vaginal BV test came back negative, twice. I think I have Gardnerella in my bladder, but I am not being given treatment because they’re saying I have BV. It’s so frustrating!


Feeling Ignored


Dear Feeling Ignored,

I can appreciate how you feel! That sounds frustrating indeed.

It really does sound like you’ve got a bladder/urinary tract issue, and not a vaginal issue, and your tests back that up as far as I’m concerned.

There is some ole skool thinking in terms of what is and isn’t ‘allowed’ to live in the vagina or bladder and what’s ‘contamination’ from the vagina. Remembering, it wasn’t that long ago that the bladder and uterus were both thought to be sterile​1,2​.

Every other bacteria found in the vagina can sometimes also be found in the bladder, so why not Gardnerella! There are many studies​3–10​ showing Gardnerella vaginalis can be a urinary tract pathogen; in fact we’ve known this since the 1980s.

Treatment suggestions

Book with vulvovaginal specialist naturopath Simone Jeffries to manage your UTI symptoms AND the perimenopause symptoms. Simone is an expert practitioner with UTI and perimenopause, so you’re in the very best hands for holistic care.

While you wait for your appointment with Simone, or if an appointment is not possible, use Aunt Vadge’s Oral UTI Blends.

Do the first week of treatment with 7.5ml of each twice daily with a little water, and then use the other half only as needed for acute symptoms.

The UTI blends should deal with the urinary tract infection symptoms, while any underlying factors are addressed with Simone. 

Feel better soon!

Warm regards,
Aunt Vadge


  1. 1.
    Hilt EE, McKinley K, Pearce MM, et al. Urine Is Not Sterile: Use of Enhanced Urine Culture Techniques To Detect Resident Bacterial Flora in the Adult Female Bladder. Munson E, ed. J Clin Microbiol. Published online March 2014:871-876. doi:10.1128/jcm.02876-13
  2. 2.
    Ackerman AL, Chai TC. The Bladder is Not Sterile: an Update on the Urinary Microbiome. Curr Bladder Dysfunct Rep. Published online November 15, 2019:331-341. doi:10.1007/s11884-019-00543-6
  3. 3.
    Kim JM, Park YJ. Lactobacillusand Urine Microbiome in Association with Urinary Tract Infections and Bacterial Vaginosis. Urogenit Tract Infect. Published online 2018:7. doi:10.14777/uti.2018.13.1.7
  4. 4.
    Woolfrey BF, Ireland GK, Lally RT. Significance of Gardnerella vaginalis in Urine Cultures. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Published online September 1, 1986:324-329. doi:10.1093/ajcp/86.3.324
  5. 5.
    Yoo JJ, Song JS, Kim WB, et al. Gardnerella vaginalis in Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection Is Associated with Dysbiosis of the Bladder Microbiome. JCM. Published online April 20, 2022:2295. doi:10.3390/jcm11092295
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    Sturm AW. Gardnerella vaginalis in infections of the urinary tract. Journal of Infection. Published online January 1989:45-49. doi:10.1016/s0163-4453(89)93642-6
  7. 7.
    JOSEPHSON, SP, THOMASON, JESSICA MD, STURINO, KATHY MD, ZABRANSKY, RONALD PhD, WILLIAMS, JAMES MD. Gardnerella vaginalis in the Urinary Tract: Incidence and Significance in a Hospital Population. Obstetrics & Gynecology . 1988;(1).
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    Catlin BW. Gardnerella vaginalis: characteristics, clinical considerations, and controversies. Clin Microbiol Rev. Published online July 1992:213-237. doi:10.1128/cmr.5.3.213
  9. 9.
    Lam MH, Birch DF, Fairley KF. Prevalence of Gardnerella vaginalis in the urinary tract. J Clin Microbiol. Published online June 1988:1130-1133. doi:10.1128/jcm.26.6.1130-1133.1988
  10. 10.
    Lam MH, Birch DF. Survival of Gardnerella vaginalis in Human Urine. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Published online February 1, 1991:234-239. doi:10.1093/ajcp/95.2.234