Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15 to 44 and can be treated with antibiotics. Without insurance, treating bacterial vaginosis typically costs between $155 - $275. The cost may vary depending on whether you see a doctor or buy an at-home testing kit, the type of antibiotic prescribed, and the dosage of antibiotics prescribed. If you are experiencing symptoms of BV, it is important to seek medical attention, as untreated BV can cause serious health complications.
While BV diagnostic testing and treatment can be expensive, Mira has a cost-saving solution for you. For $45 a month, Mira offers in-person urgent care visits, affordable lab testing, and discounted prescriptions at up to 80% off. Sign up today and get started!
Cost of Treating Bacterial Vaginosis
If you are experiencing symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, it is important to get tested as soon as possible. You have to be tested for BV to be prescribed antibiotics used to treat the infection. You can either get tested at a doctor’s office or use an at-home test.
The price of getting tested and treated for BV can vary depending on the following factors:
- The type of antibiotic and dosage you are prescribed
- If you order an at-home test or see a doctor
- What clinic you go to for diagnosis
- If you are paying with insurance or out-of-pocket
Bacterial Vaginosis Testing Costs
If you are experiencing symptoms of BV, you can either get tested at a doctor’s office or order an at-home test. The cost of BV test kits can range from $99 to $239, while the average price of a doctor’s visit is around $119 if paying without insurance. However, you may need to pay additional fees at your doctor’s visit to cover the cost of the BV test and any other necessary tests.
If you cannot get an appointment with a doctor, you may want to consider ordering an at-home test. It is important to note that if using an at-home test, you may need to wait up to a week to get your results due to shipping and processing wait times. It is also important to verify that you will have a provider you can speak to either in-person or through telehealth in order to get a prescription for an antibiotic if your test is positive.
The table below outlines the costs of three at-home tests for BV.
Cost of at-home tests for BV
|Lets Get Checked||$239|
Source: Medical News Today
Bacterial Vaginosis Antibiotic Treatment Costs
If diagnosed with BV, you will likely be prescribed antibiotics to manage the infection. Clindamycin and Metronidazole are two antibiotics that are commonly used to treat bacterial vaginosis. These two antibiotics can be offered as an oral treatment, which comes in the form of a pill, or as a topical treatment, which is a cream or gel that is applied to the infected area.
Without insurance, the average price of antibiotics to treat BV is about $42.67. The price depends on whether you purchase a brand-name or generic antibiotic, the type of antibiotic prescribed, and the dosage.
Without insurance, the generic version of Clindamycin can cost around $77.75 compared to $207 for the brand name. The generic version of Metronidazole can cost approximately $17.77, compared to $257 for the brand name. The table below outlines varying dosages of these antibiotics and their cost.
Cost of oral treatment for BV
500 mg twice daily for 7 days
300 mg twice daily for 7 days
Cost of topical treatment for BV
Clindamycin 2% vaginal cream
5 g at bedtime for 7 days
Metronidazole vaginal gel
5 g twice daily at bedtime for 5 days
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What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an overgrowth of the normal bacteria that live in the vagina, which causes a bacterial imbalance that can lead to uncomfortable symptoms. The cause of BV is not entirely understood, but certain activities can increase your risk. Bacterial vaginosis is easily treatable with antibiotics and is very common, as 1 in 3 women are expected to get BV.
Signs & Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are listed below. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment to see a health care provider.
- Thin, gray, white, or green vaginal discharge
- A “fishy” odor
- Burning during urination
- Rarely, a sore or itchy vagina
Risk Factors of Bacterial Vaginosis
Anyone with a vagina can get bacterial vaginosis, even if you haven’t had sex. BV is not a sexually transmitted infection but usually occurs in sexually active people, although researchers are unsure why. Black women are disproportionately affected by BV. You may be at a higher risk for BV if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have multiple sex partners
- Have a new sex partner
- Have unprotected sex
- Have an IUD
- Have a female sex partner
Ways to Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis
Below are several ways to reduce the chance of getting bacterial vaginosis:
- Refrain from douching
- Use mild, unscented tampons or pads
- Wear cotton underwear
- Use protection when engaging in sexual intercourse
Complications of Untreated Bacterial Vaginosis
If left untreated, bacterial vaginosis can cause serious health complications. In pregnant women, BV is linked to preterm birth and babies with low birth weights. BV also increases the risk of contracting an STI and can increase the chances of passing an STI onto your partner.
BV can also increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes, which can increase the risk of infertility. Lastly, bacterial vaginosis increases the risk of a post-surgical infection after procedures like a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) or dilation and curettage (removal of tissue from inside the uterus).
Bacterial Vaginosis Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Information about BV can be confusing, so we answer some commonly asked questions below. If you have additional questions about your symptoms and course of treatment, you should contact your healthcare provider.
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What is the difference between bacterial vaginosis and a yeast infection?
BV and vaginal yeast infections are both common vaginal infections that affect discharge. Yeast infections are a result of an overgrowth of Candida fungus and result in discharge that looks like cottage cheese and is usually odorless. BV, on the other hand, results in discharge that smells “fishy” and is thin, white, or green.
Typically, a sore and itchy vagina is not associated with BV but is a common symptom of yeast infections. You can treat vaginal yeast infections with over-the-counter medications; however, only your doctor can tell you for sure if you have BV and prescribe antibiotics to treat it.
Is bacterial vaginosis contagious?
BV is not considered contagious and is not sexually transmitted, although engaging in vaginal sex increases your likelihood of contracting BV. However, if a woman with BV has sex with another woman, the bacteria can be passed on and result in a BV infection. Using a dental dam and changing the condoms on sex toys before using them on your partner are ways you can prevent BV. It is impossible for men to get BV.
Does bacterial vaginosis go away on its own?
Bacterial vaginosis can occasionally go away on its own. Up to 50 percent of people with BV do not experience symptoms. If you do not have symptoms, the infection will likely go away on its own. If you experience any symptoms then it is important to see your doctor to avoid any complications and get treatment immediately.
Can I get treated for bacterial vaginosis if I am pregnant?
Yes, it is important to treat BV if you are pregnant to avoid any complications. The medicine used to treat BV is safe for pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.
Can I get bacterial vaginosis again if I already had it?
Unfortunately, you can get bacterial vaginosis multiple times. Most cases of bacterial vaginosis will go away within a week of taking antibiotics; however, 15 - 30 percent of women will get another BV infection within three months.
How can I save money treating my bacterial vaginosis?
The cost of getting testing and treatment for bacterial vaginosis can quickly add up. Below are some tips to keep in mind to help you save money on your treatment:
- Consider going to your local Planned Parenthood Center or other community clinics that may offer affordable testing for BV.
- Call multiple urgent care clinics and doctor’s offices to compare the price of a consultation and testing.
- If you need an antibiotic, make sure to ask your doctor if you can be prescribed the generic version. In most cases, the generic version and brand name medications are exactly the same, but the generic can be significantly less expensive.
- With a Mira membership, you can save money by accessing $99 urgent care visits and up to 80% off on your prescriptions.
Bacterial vaginosis is common and treatable; however, it may result in serious health issues if left untreated. BV can only be treated with antibiotics and diagnosis can either come from a doctor or at-home testing kit. The process of getting treated for BV typically costs between $155 - $275. There are ways to reduce the risk of BV although researchers are still unsure of how it is specifically caused.
While the cost of treating BV can be pricey, Mira has a cost-saving solution for you. For $45 a month, Mira offers in-person urgent care, affordable lab testing, and discounted prescriptions at up to 80% off. Sign up today and get started!
Erica graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with a BS in environmental science and a minor in English and is on track to graduate with her Master's in Public Health. She is passionate about health equity, women's health, and how the environment impacts public health.