Bacterial vaginosis: an update on diagnosis and treatment

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2009 Nov;7(9):1109-24. doi: 10.1586/eri.09.87.


Bacterial vaginosis is the most common cause of vaginal complaints. Bacterial vaginosis is further associated with a sizeable burden of infectious complications. Diagnosis relies on standardized clinical criteria or on scoring bacterial cell morphotypes on a Gram-stained vaginal smear. A few point-of-care tests have not gained footage in clinical practice, but molecular diagnosis is now pending. Treatment remains cumbersome and clinicians are currently rather poorly armed to treat bacterial vaginosis in the long run. As an adjuvant to standard treatment with antibiotics, alternative treatments with antiseptics and disinfectants, vaginal-acidifying and -buffering agents, and probiotics hold some promise for long-term prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disinfectants / administration & dosage
  • Disinfectants / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gentian Violet
  • Humans
  • Lactates / therapeutic use
  • Phenazines
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Vagina / microbiology
  • Vaginal Creams, Foams, and Jellies / therapeutic use
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Disinfectants
  • Gram's stain
  • Lactates
  • Phenazines
  • Vaginal Creams, Foams, and Jellies
  • Gentian Violet