What is Gardnerella?

Gardnerella is a bacteria that infects the genital tract of women and causes a change in the bacterial balance, or rather, imbalance. This imbalance can cause a condition known as bacterial vaginosis (BV). The bacteria can also be passed on to men by women during sexual intercourse.

Most reported cases of Gardnerella infections are related to sexual activities, women who have never had vaginal intercourse can also acquire the infection. Therefore, it is important to get tested if you suspect you may have BV.


How can I catch Gardnerella?

Gardnerella can be spread by sexual contact and is most frequently observed as occurring from women to men and from women to women. It has not been definitively established that men can transmit a Gardnerella infection to women.

BV develops when the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted. This imbalance can occur due to sexual contact, such as a new partner or not using a condom, or non sexual reasons, such as changing soap or using certain contraceptive devices.

What are the symptoms and signs of Gardnerella/BV in men and women?

Up to 50% of people who are infected with Gardnerella often have no symptoms. When there are symptoms, in women these can include an unusual watery vaginal discharge (often grey, green or yellowish in colour, thinner than the "cheesy," thick discharge seen in vaginal yeast infections), a "fishy" odour, and itching or burning when urinating.

In men, symptoms may include itching or burning on urination, or other urinary or penile discomfort.


Did you know? …

Gardnerella often shows no symptoms but can make you more likely to contract further sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and lead to complications with pregnancy. Click here to see the full article.

How can Gardnerella be tested/checked?

Better2Know can test you for Gardnerella by collecting a urine sample. Your results will be available up to five working days from when we receive your sample. You can also test for Gardnerella amongst other STIs with our Platinum Screen or Comfort Screen.

What are the risks if Gardnerella is left untreated?

If left untreated, the infection can make you more susceptible to contracting other STIs including HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. In women, Gardnerella can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and can also cause some complications in pregnancy, including premature labour and delivery. Therefore, a woman who experiences complications during birth might be tested for BV, even when no symptoms are present.

It is generally thought that the presence of Gardnerella in men does not pose any risk factors and that, under normal circumstances, his body will eliminate the bacterium over time.

What if I test positive for Gardnerella?

Gardnerella can clear up on its own. If you have symptoms, or you and your partner are trying for a baby, it can be treated with a short course of antibiotics.

Better2Know can provide you with a prescription for treatment if you test positive for Gardnerella. Alternatively, you can take your results to your own GP or local sexual health centre. Your choice of clinician will be able to prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic for you.

If you have tested positive for Gardnerella using a home sample collection test, we can arrange a private doctor’s consultation for you if you would like. Simply phone our team on the number at the top of the page to book your GP appointment.

Book your Gardnerella test

Better2Know is the world's leading provider of private sexual health testing services. We will arrange a clinic appointment or home testing kit quickly, and deliver fast and accurate results for your peace of mind. If you have any concerns about your sexual health, please call our friendly booking team on the number above or click Book Now.