Why antibiotics don’t work on BV


You may have a diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis with or without symptoms. Either way the problem is the same: Gardnerella vaginalis and friends have made a sticky bacterial biofilm on your vaginal cells and they are not giving up their position.

The usual treatment for BV is antibiotics, however more often than not, the BV ‘comes back’ after a month or two. The three-month success rate of antibiotics is about half. This is because in many cases,the BV never really goes away; the bacterial biofilm home-grown by Gardnerella vaginalis and friends is still in there, stuck to the fabric of your vagina, the epithelial cells.

This biofilm causes your vagina to become too alkaline, kills off the Lactobacillus, and causes unpleasant symptoms. Antibiotics merely put a few bullet holes in the biofilm, but they are not effective in dissolving it. Antibiotics work for some women, and should be tried, because if they do work they are an excellent option and save much heartache. Don’t forget to always follow up antibiotics with probiotics.

We’ve written a book, Killing BV, detailing how to get rid of the bacterial biofilm caused by G. vaginalis.

Antibiotics used to treat BV

  • Metronidazole (Flagyl, oral, MetroGel, vaginal) – most commonly prescribed
  • Clindamycin (Cleocin, oral or vaginal, Clindesse, vaginal)
  • Tinidazole (Tindamax, oral)

If you have tried antibiotics, and they haven’t worked, you may be treating the wrong bacteria or have antibiotic resistant bacteria.


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.