Asymptomatic Bacterial Vaginosis: to Treat or Not to Treat?

Academic Article


  • Purpose of Review: The purpose of this review is to summarize current evidence for and against the treatment of asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis (BV) in women. Recent Findings: Asymptomatic BV is common although its pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. In favor of treating asymptomatic BV is the large body of data supporting that it is sexually transmitted. Along these lines and similar to other STIs, treatment of BV, regardless of symptom status, should be considered to reduce adverse outcomes of infection (i.e., adverse birth outcomes, infertility, post-gynecologic surgery infections) and prevent further sexual transmission of BV pathogen(s) to sexual partners. One study has found that treatment of women with asymptomatic BV led to a significant reduction in incident chlamydial infections over a 6-month follow-up period, compared to observation-only women. Additionally, some women with asymptomatic BV actually have symptomatic BV but do not recognize these symptoms as an infection. Nevertheless, limitations of the trial regarding treatment of asymptomatic BV as well as the 2020 United States Preventative Task Force recommendation against screening and treatment of asymptomatic BV in pregnant women dampen enthusiasm for recommending treatment in this setting. Summary: Treatment of asymptomatic BV remains controversial. Additional studies are needed to further investigate the pathogenesis of BV, which will directly influence advances in its diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Muzny CA; Schwebke JR
  • Volume

  • 22
  • Issue

  • 12