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How long does Metronidazole take to work?

24th October 2019

Metronidazole is an antibiotic used to treat a number of infections, including mouth infections (such as dental abscesses), skin infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV). Available only by prescription, it’s a highly effective antibiotic that comes in tablet, liquid, gel, cream and suppository form.

How long does Metronidazole take to work?

The time it takes for Metronidazole to work will depend on the reason you have been prescribed it. For bacterial vaginosis (BV), you will normally be prescribed a 7 day course of antibiotics (one tablet, twice a day) and all symptoms should have cleared by the end of this (although you will probably notice an improvement after only a couple of days).

Even if your symptoms appear to have cleared, you should always take antibiotics are prescribed, and you should always finish the full course. While symptoms may not take the whole course to clear, the infection itself does. Stopping antibiotics early could mean that the infection has not completely cleared and you could notice symptoms return.

How do I use Metronidazole?

Metronidazole is a prescription-only medicine, which means that you should only use it as advised by your doctor. Metronidazole is available in a variety of forms, and you may be recommended a certain one based on what you are treating. For BV, you can either take it as a tablet or use it as a vaginal gel. The choice is really down to the preference of the woman.

Take Metronidazole tablets by swallowing them whole with a glass of water. The tablets tend to begin dissolving in the mouth very quickly, and a number of users complain of a very strong, metallic taste in the mouth. If you are struggling with this, try taking the tablets with a glass of milk (instead of water) to mask the taste.

Like all medications, Metronidazole comes with a list of potential side effects. While not everyone taking ti will experience these, a vast number of users complain of nausea, stomach pains, bloating and a loss of appetite. If you do notice stomach problems such as these, ensure you are taking the tablets after food, and then eat a little something after taking them too. This can ease the impact on your stomach and therefore reduce side effects.

What is bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that occurs when the pH of a woman’s vagina is disrupted. This can be for a number of reasons, as the pH balance of the vagina is pretty delicate, so any slight change can cause upset.

Common triggers of BV include sex, the IUD contraceptive device, and basic hygiene practices. Very regular sex or sex with a number of different partners can trigger BV because it involves a foreign object in the vagina and semen is very slightly alkaline so it can interfere with the slight acidity of the vagina. 

But while BV can be triggered by sex, it is not a sexually transmitted infection. This is because the infection is caused by an imbalance in a woman’s body, and not by something that is acquired from one person to another. Therefore, men cannot get bacterial vaginosis.

Other common ways in which bacteria can enter the vagina and cause BV is wearing tight underwear (such as thongs), wiping from back to front or not changing your underwear regularly enough. Equally, “overwashing” can trigger BV too by messing with vagina’s natural balance. Try to avoid using heavily scented soaps or perfumes on your delicate areas and stick to a gentle wash instead.

What are the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV)?

A lot of the time, women with BV can be asymptomatic and may not even realise they have the infection. However, if you do notice symptoms then the main one is a vaginal discharge with a strong “fishy” smell. This could be white or grey in colour and is usually of a very watery consistency. If your discharge is thick then it’s more likely to be thrush or another vaginal complaint.

It’s important to get yourself checked if you notice any significant changes to your intimate health. Most vaginal infections (such as BV) are harmless and easy to treat, but discharge, foul smells or bleeding between sex can be symptoms of more serious issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or certain kinds of cancer.

If you feel nervous or embarrassed about going to see a doctor face to face, then you could first try a self-testing kit from the comfort of your own home. These can diagnose common infections such as Thrush, BV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea and can help you to avoid any self-consciousness. However, it’s important to remember that any symptoms that persist after treatment should always be checked by a medical professional.