Gardnerella – Infection, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Are you lately having a gray or yellowish, fishy-smelling discharge from your vagina? Gardnerella may be the cause. Read on to get complete Gardnerella information. Know what is Gardnerella, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Gardnerella Definition

Gardnerella is a disease caused by bacterial infection of the female genital tract. It is also known by the name Gardnerella Vaginalis. The condition was first described in 1955 by Gardner and Dukes. It is the most common type of Bacterial Vaginitis in an adult, sexually active woman.

Gardnerella Vaginalis is an old term for the disease. It is today better known as Bacterial Vaginosis. The condition was also popularly known earlier as Nonspecific Vaginosis.

Gardnerella Symptoms

Some of the main symptoms of Gardnerella bacterial infection are :

Vaginal Discharge

Women with this kind of infection typically suffer from a vaginal discharge that may be yellowish, gray or sticky white in color. The secretion can be at any time of the day and often leave stains in the underwear.

Fishy Odor

The Gardnerella discharge usually has a musty or fishy smell. Gardnerella fishy odor is a most unpleasant smell. Gardnerella odor may be experienced during menstruation or after copulation.

Itchiness in Vagina

In some cases, Gardnerella causes irritation of the vagina. There may also be pronounced itchiness in vagina during periods or after intercourse.

Painful Sensation

Women with Gardnerella disease may also suffer from a burning feeling or painful sensation during urination.

Gardnerella Causes

As stated earlier, Gardnerella occurs due to bacterial infection of the genital tract in women. It usually results from infection caused by bacteria of Vaginalis Gardnerella genus along with various types of anaerobic bacteria.

In healthy women, the body maintains a normal pH balance thus keeping the vagina acidic to a moderate level. This acidity protects vagina from growth of unhealthy bacteria. These bacteria include strains of Gardnerella Vaginalis and also Gardnerella Mobiluncus and Mycoplasma Hominis.

A Gardnerella bacterial infection may develop due to several reasons like :


In patients of Gardnerella antibiotics may be a causative factor. Broad-spectrum antibiotics sometimes give rise to side effects such as destruction of healthy bacteria around the vagina. This makes vagina susceptible to harmful bacterial infections and Gardnerella growth.


Tampons are plugs made of cotton or any other absorbent material. While Tampon usage is generally safe, constant use of them on the vagina can cause irritation. The vagina can also be dry thus becoming vulnerable to bacterial infections.


Use of Contraceptives like Contraceptive Sponges, Diaphragms and Intrauterine devices (IUD) as also Vaginal Douching can disturb the balance of healthy bacteria residing inside the vagina making it susceptible to harmful bacteria attacks.


Though sexual activity has not been directly proved to be a cause of Gardnerella infection, it is suspected to be an underlying factor. This is because the condition is reported in women with multiple partners. A new sexual partner and presence of other sexually-transmitted diseases are also seen as causes of Gardnerella. However, the condition is also seen in virgins or women who have never had sex before.


In Gardnerella pregnancy is also suspected to be a causative condition. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has mentioned that bacterial infection of vagina is the most common infection in young, pregnant women.

Gardnerella During Pregnancy

Gardnerella in pregnancy may give rise to some serious complications. In women having Gardnerella while pregnant there is high risk of ectopic pregnancy, premature delivery or delivery of babies with low birth weight. The disease can also give rise to infection in the uterus after delivery. This is why prenatal tests often involve examination for bacterial infection.

Gardnerella Complications

Gardnerella not only causes complication in pregnancy but may also cause health problems in normal women. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and infertility are two of the most severe complexities from this infection. A Gardnerella infection can also heighten susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like Chlamydia, Herpes Simplex Virus infection or HIV. In patients of Gardnerella Gonorrhea may also arise.

Gardnerella Diagnosis

Gardnerella probe is usually done by a wet mount preparation. For Gardnerella testing, an expert medical professional prepares a wet mount consisting of a sample of the vaginal discharge of the sufferer and a saline solution. When observed under a microscope, the Epithelial cells (also known as Clue cells) show a stippled or granulated effect which indicates presence of the Gardnerella bacteria.

Gardnerella Treatment

Despite its symptoms and complications, Gardnerella can be quite easy to treat. Once the Gardnerella infection has been diagnosed, it can be treated by various methods. Oral consumption of Metrodinazole (Flagyl) for up to 7 days can be effective for both teenagers and adults. Medical researchers can advise the sexual partners of the woman to follow the same Gardnerella medical cure. Gardnerella Flagyl treatment will help them avoid the risk of infection. It will also help prevent a recurrence of Gardnerella in women.

In Gardnerella Metrodinazole, though used as a standard treatment, is not a good medication for alcoholics. Alcohol inhibits the effect of this medicine and hampers treatment. Metrodinazole is also ineffective in people suffering from blood related ailments and problems of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Women in the initial stages of pregnancy or lactating mothers should also avoid this Gardnerella medication.

Cephadrine is also a good choice for Gardnerella bacteria treatment. This medicine can be taken through mouth for up to 6 days. It is effective in removing the Gardnerella bacteria from vagina. It is however, unable to cure infection resulting from bacteria of anaerobic variety. Tinidazole, Vaginal Clindamycin Cream (Cleocin) and Vaginal Metronidazole Gel (Metrogel) are also considered to be effective for Gardnerella cure.

Gardnerella is a completely curable infection. If you note the symptoms of this condition in your partner or yourself, do not rely on diaphragms or condoms to get protection. Stop all sexual activities and seek medical cure as early as possible. Early treatment will help you get rid of this discomforting disease sooner than you think.


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