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What Is Metronidazole Vaginal Gel Used For And How To Use It?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  • Metronidazole vaginal gel is used topically to treat bacterial infection of the vagina i.e., BV or Rosacea.
  • It cannot be used to treat fungal, yeast, or viral infections.
  • Metronidazole can cause clumpy discharge, and it should not be used for periods.
  • Sex should be avoided while using metronidazole gel as it will reduce the efficacy of the medication.
  • Metronidazole gel is considered safe to use during pregnancy.


Metronidazole gel packed in 70g (0.75% gel) is an antibiotic locally used to treat bacterial infection of the vagina. It is not meant to treat other types of infections, such as fungal, yeast, or viral infections. To ensure proper use, it is critical to consult with a healthcare provider. Usually, treatment lasts around 5 days however, your dosing and the treatment duration will depend upon your condition and what brand of Metronidazole gel you are using.

Metronidazole Vaginal gel prescribed for bacterial infections can raise several questions in your mind. For example, how to apply Metronidazole vaginal gel? Can you use it during periods, pregnancy, or while having sex? We have tried answering all those questions in the following article.

What is metronidazole vaginal gel used for?

Vaginal infections can be uncomfortable and disrupt one’s daily life. Metronidazole vaginal gel is an antibiotic that is used to treat vaginal infections such as Bacterial Vaginosis that are caused by bacteria. The medication works by stopping bacterial growth and belongs to a class of drugs called metronidazole antimicrobials.
It can not be used for any other infections in the vagina for example fungal infections, yeast infections or viral infections. Metronidazole gel is not the only treatment option for BV other medications that are used for the treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) include Metronidazole tablets, and Cleocin (Clindamycin). There may be other off-label uses of this medication which is why, it is essential to always consult your healthcare provider before use.

Can metronidazole gel treat bacterial infection? Ask an Online Doctor

How to use metronidazole vaginal gel?

Metronidazole is sold under the following brand names:

Brand NameUses
MetroGelUsually prescribed for skin condition Rosacea
Metro-Gel VaginalPrescribed for bacterial infections in the vagina
NUVESSAUsually prescribed for bacterial vaginal infections to females who are 12 years and older.
VandazoleNuvessa is used among children 12 years and older for vaginal infections caused by bacteria.

Metronidazole gel should be used as directed by your healthcare provider. You should follow all the prescription guidelines including:

  1. Do not use the Metronidazole Vaginal Gel for longer than prescribed.
  2. Do not use less than the recommended dose.
  3. Do not use a greater quantity than recommended.
  4. Proper application of metronidazole vaginal gel is essential for its effectiveness. 

Follow these steps for correct usage:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the gel.
  2. Fill the applicator provided with the prescribed amount of gel.
  3. While comfortably lying on your back with your knees bent.
  4. Hold the applicator properly in your full hand and gently press the plunger as you place it near your vagina.
  5. Gently insert the applicator into the vagina.
  6. Push the plunger to release the gel into the vagina.
  7. Withdraw the applicator and discard it appropriately.
  8. Use each applicator only once and then discard it.
  9. Wash your hands again after application.
  10. If there is any contact with your eyes or face rinse properly with water.

The exact method of use varies with the brand, for example,

  1. Nuvessa™ comes with a prefilled applicator. The applicator has two ends, one is open where you can insert the plunger while the other is close to where the gel comes out. The closed end usually has a pink cap over it.
  2. Vandazole® comes in a tube and you can apply it to your vagina using an applicator. The applicator has a barrel which is a plastic tube open at one end while at the other end, it has a plunger.

Learn More: What Happens If I Drink Alcohol When Taking Metronidazole

How long does it take to work metronidazole vaginal gel interaction?

The timeline for metronidazole vaginal gel to take effect may vary. However, noticeable improvement in symptoms is often observed within one to two days of starting the treatment. It is important to complete the full course of treatment, even if symptoms improve earlier.

Do not double the dose on metronidazole gel in case you missed a dose and the next dosing interval is almost there. Go back to the normal dosing schedule once you remember.

Dose for Nuvessa

  • Each applicator of Nuvessa contains 65 mg of Metronidazole. It is instructed to apply one applicator of 5 grams for children and adults 12 years and older.
  • For Children younger than 12 years the dose is recommended by your doctor.

Dose for Vandazole

  • Each Applicator of Vandazole contains 37.5 mg of Metronidazole. One applicator of 5 grams is inserted into the vagina 5 grams daily.
  • For children, the dose of Vandazole is determined by doctors.

Like gel, Metronidazole cream is also used to treat vaginal infections. It is recommended that adults use the Metronidazole cream once or twice daily for about ten to twenty days. The dose for children younger than 12 is recommended by your doctor according to the child’s condition and needs.

Metronidazole Vaginal tablets are also available for adults as 500 mg tablets are inserted into the vagina. It is recommended to use the medicine twice daily for 10-20 days.

Can metronidazole clear up chlamydia? Speak with Online Doctor

What are the metronidazole gel side effects? How long do they last? 

While metronidazole vaginal gel is generally well-tolerated, it may cause some side effects. Common side effects include

  1. Vaginal discomfort or irritation
  2. Headache
  3. Burning and irritation at the site of application
  4. Skin Dryness
  5. Skin redness at the site of application
  6. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
  7. Unusual vaginal discharge
  8. Tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet

Serious side effects of Metronidazole Gel

In rare cases seek medical attention if you experience severe itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing after using metronidazole vaginal gel.

Other serious conditions may include:

  1. Worsened Rosacea
  2. Allergic reactions
  3. Cramps in abdomen
  4. Severe Vomiting

FAQs About the Use of Metronidazole Vaginal Gel

Can you get a white clumpy discharge after using metronidazole gel?

Depending on the brand and patient’s individual condition Metronidazole gel can cause white clumpy discharge but it goes away after completing the course of medication.

How long does discharge last after metronidazole is applied?

The discharge usually goes away after completing the full course of treatment.

What happens if I have sex while taking metronidazole gel?

It is recommended not to have sex while using this medicine. Having sex can reduce the effectiveness of the medication.

Is Metronidazole safe in pregnancy?

Yes, it is considered safe to use in pregnancy. Metronidazole gel is classified as pregnancy category B medication which means that animal studies have revealed it causes no harm to the fetus. However, no controlled group studies have been conducted on pregnant women.

Can I use metronidazole gel while on my period?

It is not recommended to use Metronidazole gel during periods as it reduces efficacy.

What happens if you drink alcohol while taking metronidazole vaginal gel?

Alcoholic beverages can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and other symptoms while using metronidazole gel.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Medline Plus. Metronidazole Vaginal
  • Oluwatosin Goje, Elizabeth O. Shay, Metabel Markwei, Roshan Padmanabhan, Charis Eng,
    The effect of oral Metronidazole on the vaginal microbiome of patients with recurrent bacterial vaginosis: A pilot investigational study, Human Microbiome Journal, Volume 20, 2021, 100081, ISSN 2452-2317,
  • Bagnall, Paulette MPAS, PA-C; Rizzolo, Denise PA-C, PhD. Bacterial vaginosis: A practical review. JAAPA 30(12):p 15-21, December 2017. | DOI: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000526770.60197.fa
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacterial Vaginosis – CDC Basic Fact Sheet
  • NHS. How and when to take or use metronidazole

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