Health Department

Joel Strasz - Public Health Director
Kathy Janer - Public Health Nursing Manager
Melissa Maillette - Emergency Preparedness & Health Education Manager
Amy Revette - WIC Manager
Mark Pickell - Business Services Manager
Joel Kwiatkowski - Environmental Health Manager
Dr. Thomas Bender - Medical Director
Dr. William Morrone - Medical Examiner
Bay County Health Department
1200 Washington Avenue
Bay City, Michigan 48708
Voice: (989) 895-4009
Fax: (989) 895-4014
Health Information Line: (989) 895-4192

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), formerly called Gardnerella or nonspecific vaginitis, is the result of alterations in the bacteria that normally live in the vagina. The cause of the bacterial alteration is not fully understood. Bacterial Vaginosis is not considered exclusively a sexually transmitted disease, however, it usually occurs most often in sexually active women.


Half the women who are diagnosed with BV have no symptoms. Common symptoms include gray or white vaginal discharge with an abnormal "fishy" odor.


  1. Bacterial Vaginosis is treated with Flagyl (metronidazole).
  2. Finish all medicine as instructed.
  3. Do not take this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to Flagyl.  Use with caution if you have any blood or liver diseases or central nervous system disorders.
  4. Do not take this medicine if you think you are pregnant, are pregnant or you are breast-feeding.
  5. Do not take Flagyl if you are taking Antabuse or if you have taken Antabuse in the past two weeks.
  6. Do not drink alcoholic beverages or take medications containing alcohol for one day before, during, and for two days after taking Flagyl. Alcohol may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or headaches.
  7. Dark or red-brown urine and a metallic taste in your mouth may occur.
  8. Other possible side effects: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and dry mouth. Contact your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you have a seizure or experience numbness of an arm or leg.
  9. Return to the clinic if symptoms persist.
  10. Do not have sex until you have finished the medication. Use condoms during intercourse to help prevent passing infections. There is evidence to conclude condoms prevent HIV transmission in males and females, and they could reduce the risk of gonorrhea for men. Additional studies are needed to determine effectiveness for other STDs including Bacterial Vaginosis.
  11. Treatment for sex partners is not recommended.
  12. This information does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions of this medication. This information is not intended as medical advice for individual problems.


Keep in good health by eating a balanced diet and getting the proper amount of sleep.

Keep the vaginal area dry.  Wear underpants and pantyhose that have a cotton crotch.  Nylon prevents air circulation and keeps the area moist.  Dry yourself carefully after a bath or shower.

Douching, bubble bath, feminine hygiene sprays, perfumed or colored toilet paper, deodorant tampons and bath powder (including baby powder) can increase your chances of getting a vaginal infection.