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Gardnerella Vaginallis in Men

Can men get gardnerella vaginallis?

Gardnerella vaginallis is a bacteria that can cause bacterial vaginosis. Despite gardnerella mainly affecting women it can still be passed to men as a colonisation within the male urethra. More often than not an infected male will not show any symptoms and treatment is often not required. If a man is symptomatic then treatment can be administered to clear the infection.

Strictly speaking, gardnerella vaginallis or bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed from a woman to a man during unprotected sexual intercourse. It’s also not ruled that an infected man can pass the condition to a woman. This article explains a little more about the condition.

About Gardnerella Vaginallis

Garderella vaginallis is a bacteria which can cause bacterial vaginosis (BV) in a woman. Bacterial vaginosis is the result of a change in the bacterial balance within the vagina. Although the condition is not pleasant, it is quite common with 1 in 3 women experiencing the condition throughout their lifetime.

Bacterial vaginosis and gardnerella vaginallis are not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection, but you’re more likely to contract the condition if you’re sexually active and you’ve had a change of partner. It can also be caused by an IUD contraceptive device or by using perfumed products around the vagina.

It can be passed from a woman to another woman during sex, whilst it can also be passed to a man, often without causing any symptoms.

Women who haven’t had sex can also experience the condition.


There are usually no symptoms of the gardnerella bacteria in men, whilst many women can have the condition without symptoms. Those who are symptomatic may experience the following signs: –

  • Vaginal discharge with a strong unpleasant smell
  • Strong vaginal odour and a fishy smell after sex
  • Vaginal itching
  • Painful urination

Diagnosis and Treatment of gardnerella vaginallis

Gardneralla vaginallis can be diagnosed by testing for the condition using either a urine or swab sample. Your Sexual Health offer a wide range of private STI tests that can diagnose the bacteria, including our Profile 1 test.

If gardnerella vaginallis is present when tested then it can be treated using a routine course of antibiotics and it will usually clear in a matter of days. These can be prescribed as part of the service offered by Your Sexual Health.