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Why Is My BV Not Going Away with Treatment?

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Oct 27, 2023

Why Is My BV Not Going Away with Treatment?

Half of the women who experience bacterial vaginosis (BV) do not exhibit symptoms, but for those who do, they may notice a strong fishy odor and thin, possibly discolored discharge. In most cases, BV is highly curable with doctor-prescribed antibiotics. If you feel that your BV is not going away with treatment, don’t panic.

According to experts, recurring bacterial vaginosis is common, especially if you have the following habits:

You regularly use feminine washes

BV happens when there’s an overgrowth of a specific type of the naturally-occurring bacteria in the vagina. So, basically, anything that disrupts the bacterial balance in the woman’s genital area can lead to recurring BV.

One factor that can lead to that disruption is the use of feminine washes, which, according to most advertisements, help you “feel fresh and clean” down there.

Medical experts emphasize that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, so you don’t need to douche or use any feminine wash, especially perfumed ones, as they can only irritate the skin or cause an imbalance in the bacterial environment.

If your BV keeps coming back, the best course of action is to drop the habit of using feminine washes. Instead, wash the outside of your vagina with warm water.

BV not going away with treatment

You’re used to wearing tight pants or nylon undergarments

If your BV is not going away with treatment, check your underwear and pants.

According to doctors, tight pants and nylon undergarments can block airflow in the genital area and cause bacterial growth, leading to recurrent or worsened BV.

Additionally, these types of clothing can result in sweating, another known contributor to bacterial vaginosis.

Instead of tight pants and nylon undergarments, choose loose bottoms and breathable cotton underwear.

You had sex while you’re still being treated

In some cases, engaging in sex while you still have bacterial vaginosis is the reason why your BV is not responding to antibiotics. And though bacterial vaginosis is not an STD, having multiple sexual partners also increases the chances of acquiring the condition.

Experts reiterate that sex can affect vaginal pH levels, which can, in turn, promote bacterial growth. Their advice is to refrain from having sex until you’ve finished the antibiotic therapy, and your symptoms have cleared.

If you want to maintain intimacy, consider other forms of sexual activities.

You stopped taking your medications

Once your doctor gives you an antibiotic cream or pills, you need to apply or take the medication as prescribed.

So, if the doctor says twice a day for 7 days, strictly follow the order even if your symptoms clear up after just 3 or 4 days of treatment.

According to doctors, stopping your medications too early can lead to BV recurrence.

Moreover, discontinuing the antibiotic prematurely can result in antibiotic resistance. This means that should your BV recur, it may not respond well to your previous antibiotic drug.

You forget to take care of your sex toys

In case your infection clears up, and then you notice that it keeps on coming back, think about your sex toys.

When sex toys are not squeaky clean, they can reintroduce bacteria in the vagina, resulting in recurrent bacterial vaginosis.

Don’t forget to clean your sex toys before and after using them. But of course, wait until your condition improves before you resume engaging in sexual intercourse.

You rely too much on home remedies

Once you observe the tell-tale symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, you need to talk to your doctor so he or she can give you the appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Relying too much on home remedies, like avoiding sex, wearing cotton underwear, and taking probiotics will not clear an existing infection.

Furthermore, when you don’t receive the appropriate antibiotic, your BV may not go away with treatment and lead to complications like pelvic issues, increased infection risk, and miscarriage or preterm birth in pregnant women.

Key Takeaways

Is your BV not going away with treatment? If it’s recurring, look back on certain aspects of your lifestyle.

Remember: talk to your doctor and don’t rely solely on home remedies.

Finally, make sure that you’re taking good care of your feminine area. Don’t douche or use heavily perfumed products, clean your sex toys, and opt for cotton underwear.

Learn more about Bacterial Vaginosis here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Oct 27, 2023

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