Can Amoxicillin Treat Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial infection of the vagina that affects about a third of all women between the ages of 15 and 44. BV is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), however, BV can increase the risk of getting an STI. BV is rare in people who have not had sexual intercourse, although experts aren't sure exactly how these infections start.

Several different types of bacteria can cause bacterial vaginosis, and antibiotics are prescribed to treat this infection. Not all antibiotics work equally in treating this condition, though. This article will explore what medications can treat bacterial vaginosis and if amoxicillin is one of them.

Young woman speaking with her healthcare provider.

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Is Amoxicillin an Effective Treatment for BV?

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic in the penicillin family and it can be used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. Though it's not currently recommended as an antimicrobial option for treating BV by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What Is Amoxicillin Used For?

Bacteria can only be treated by antibiotics specifically formulated to fight that bacterial infection. Amoxicillin can treat a variety of conditions, but it's not effective against BV. Amoxicillin is often used to fight the following bacteria:

  • Streptococcus
  • Staphylococcus
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Escherichia coli
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Pneumococcus

Bacterial vaginosis can be caused by the following bacteria and require antibiotics specific to these bacteria:

  • Prevotella
  • Mobiluncus
  • Atopobium vaginae
  • Gardnerella vaginalis

Although amoxicillin is not as effective against these BV bacteria, it may be used in some cases where other antibacterial medications are not an option.

Side Effects Of Amoxicillin

There are side effects with many types of antibiotics, and the most common with amoxicillin are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Taste changes
  • Headache

Less common—but more serious—side effects can include:

  • Rash
  • Skin blisters
  • Skin peeling
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing or swallowing problems

Bacterial Vaginosis Treatments

The CDC currently recommends either metronidazole or clindamycin as the first choices for treating bacterial vaginosis. Options for these include any one of the following, with the CDC not recommending one over the other:

  • 500 milligrams (mg) metronidazole by mouth, twice a day for seven days
  • 0.75% metronidazole gel inserted into the vagina, once a day for five days
  • 2% clindamycin cream inserted into the vagina, once a day at bedtime for seven days

While these are the top choices for treating BV, the CDC also offers the following alternative regimens:

  • 300 mg clindamycin by mouth, twice a day for seven days
  • 100 mg clindamycin inserted into the vagina, once a day at bedtime for three days
  • 2 grams (g) secnidazole granules by mouth in a single dose
  • 2 g tinidazole by mouth, once a day for two days
  • 1 g tinidazole by mouth, once a day for five days

The CDC doesn't specify which types of antibiotics—oral or vaginal—are preferred for treating BV, but it is clear that oral metronidazole, vaginal metronidazole, or clindamycin should be the first choice in treating these infections.

Bacterial Vaginosis Prevention

It's not exactly clear how BV infections start, but they can occur in people who have not had vaginal intercourse. The following can contribute to BV:

  •  Douching
  • Taking antibiotics
  • Using vaginal washes
  • Using scented body soaps
  • Not using condoms
  • Having multiple sexual partners

The CDC recommends taking these steps to help prevent BV infections:

  • Limit sexual partners.
  • Avoid douching.
  • Use condoms correctly every time you have sexual intercourse.

Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can prevent BV or other infections that can develop with sexual activity.


Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection of the vagina. Douching and other activities can also upset your body's natural balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria and contribute to these infections.

Antibiotics are usually used to treat bacterial infections, but not every type of antibiotic can be used for every bacterial infection. Your healthcare provider will prescribe an antibiotic that is the right match for your particular type of infection.

A Word From Verywell

If you think you have an infection of the vagina, talk to your healthcare provider about the best treatment options. Do not use antibiotics left over from previous infections since antibiotics are intended to treat specific infections. Amoxicillin is not one of the preferred options to treat BV.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much amoxicillin should you take per day?

    The maximum daily dose for amoxicillin is 4,000 mg per day for adults, but you should not take any antibiotics without a healthcare provider's order and supervision.

  • What is the most effective treatment option for BV?

    The CDC recommends either the antibiotics metronidazole or clindamycin to treat bacterial vaginosis.

  • How long does it take to cure BV?

    Depending on which antibiotic you are prescribed, your bacterial vaginosis may resolve in about a week. It's not uncommon, though, for these infections to be difficult to clear or return after some time. Talk to your healthcare provider if your symptoms return or don't improve after you've finished your medication.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacterial vaginosis statistics.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacterial vaginosis.

  3. Akhavan BJ, Khanna NR, Vijhani P. Amoxicillin. StatPearls.

  4. Berrebi A. Antibiotiques et vaginoses bactériennes [Antibiotics and bacterial vaginosis]. Rev Fr Gynecol Obstet. March 1993;88(3):215-2177.

  5. MedlinePlus. Amoxicillin.

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacterial vaginosis: CDC fact sheet.

  7. University of California San Francisco. Maximum dosing for amoxicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanate.

By Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RN
Rachael is a freelance healthcare writer and critical care nurse based near Cleveland, Ohio.