Recurrent bacterial vaginosis--an old approach to a new problem

Int J STD AIDS. 1996 Jul;7(4):284-7. doi: 10.1258/0956462961917816.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common cause of abnormal malodorous vaginal discharge and can be frustrating to manage in its recurrent form. Metronidazole is the standard treatment, but is unacceptable to many women when given repeatedly. Results of treating recurrent BV using a single vaginal washout with 3% hydrogen peroxide are analysed. A total of 30 symptomatic women with clinically confirmed recurrent BV in the absence of other genital infections were recruited after informed consent. Hydrogen peroxide (3%) was instilled into the vagina, left for 3 minutes and drained. Reassessment was at 3 weeks after treatment. A total of 23 women completed the study. Symptoms cleared completely in 78% (18/23), improved in 13% (3/23) and remained unchanged in 9% (2/23). All the 3 women with improved symptoms had a mild vaginal discharge, but only one of them was still able to perceive the malodour. The amine test was negative in all 23 women including the 2 (9%) who felt no change in their symptoms following treatment. Mixed anaerobes isolated in all women before treatment were not re-isolated, and microscopy did not show 'clue cells' in the vaginal discharge following treatment. Vaginal acidity was restored to normal in all but one (96%). No side-effects were observed in the treated women. Hydrogen peroxide (3%) used as a single vaginal wash was as effective as any other agent in current use in clearing the vaginal malodour of bacterial vaginosis at 3 weeks after treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravaginal
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Antitrichomonal Agents / adverse effects
  • Antitrichomonal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / administration & dosage
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / adverse effects
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / therapeutic use*
  • Metronidazole / adverse effects
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Vaginal Discharge / microbiology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / therapy*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Antitrichomonal Agents
  • Metronidazole
  • Hydrogen Peroxide