What is Gardnerella?
Gardnerella is often associated with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), and is common cause of vaginal infection (vaginitis). BV is the result of a bacterial overgrowth (differentiating it from thrush/ candida which are caused by a yeastinfection). There are many reasons for this imbalance, ranging from a new soap to a new sexual partner, or using new forms of contraception.
How is it transmitted?
Although Gardnerella is often associated with BV, it can also be detected in women who do not show any signs of infection. It can also be found in men. However, the presence of Gardnerella in a man will generally not pose any risk factors to him, and under normal circumstances the bacteria will be naturally eliminated over time.
How will I know if I have it?
Bacterial Vaginosis is caused when the naturally occurring bacterial populations in the vagina become unbalanced, allowing the Gardnerella bacteria to multiply in large numbers. Once the populations of normal vaginal bacteria have been overtaken, symptoms of bacterial vaginosis can occur.
Most people experience no symptoms with Gardnerella but, when symptoms do occur, they may include: a watery discharge with a change in colour, a “fishy” odour, or itching/ burning upon urination.
You can be tested for Gardnerella at our centres across Africa by providing a simple urine sample. As well as individual Gardnerella testing, you can also choose an STI screen whcih includes a Gardnerella test. This includes our Comfort and Platinum Screens.
Gardnerella infections are curable and can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. You should avoid unprotected sex until one week after your treatment has finished, and your symptoms have dissapeared.
If left untreated, the infection makes you more likely to contract other STDs including HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. You are also more likely to pass Gardnerella infections onto a new partner. In women, Gardnerella can cause complications during pregnancy, as well as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) if left untreated.