Men carry bacterial vaginosis (BV) bacteria and biofilms on and in their penis and urethra, and are passing it around to their female sexual partners – this is why ‘a new sexual partner’ is one of the main triggers for BV. Men are passing it from vagina to vagina, and there are often different biotypes of bacteria involved. BV is everyone’s problem, not just women’s.
If you or your male sexual partner are unconvinced that he has the infection and biofilm, he should read this. Our biofilm penis treatment plan for men can be found here in our Killing BV: Guide for Men. If you are a man who has been in contact with a BV-laced vagina, we recommend that you read this book.
Treating a male sexual partner for BV requires a thorough understanding of how the biofilms work so that you don’t waste your time on ineffective treatments, or worse, don’t think you/your male partner need treatment.
About G. vaginalis infections in men
There is some evidence to show that without direct physical repeated skin-on-skin contact with a BV-infected vagina, a male sexual partner’s G. vaginalis infection in the urethra and on the penis will disappear by itself. (See this article discussing the evidence that men with female partners with BV have G. vaginalis on and in their penises.)
Evidence suggests that the bacteria will continue to live in his urethra and on his penis so long as he is exposed to it, which is good news for the male partners of women with BV, because with the use of condoms, the infection goes away by itself most of the time.
Most of the time – but not all the time. This means that some men will retain their infection and need treatment, but at the moment there is no way of knowing if you or your partner are continuing to be infectious. This means any penis that has been in contact with a BV vagina should be treated, with the longer the contact likely meaning the worse the infection. If you use condoms religiously, treatment will not be necessary.
Men do need to know that there is a very high chance that they have G. vaginalis in their urethra and on the end of their penises, so it is critical to use condoms with all sex partners to stop the spread of the infection, via biofilm seed bacteria.
What your doctor will do and why it is a stab in the dark
Men may be prescribed antibiotics if their female sex partner gets a BV diagnosis, but this is a stab in the dark – men aren’t tested for G. vaginalis and therefore there is no way of knowing – or effectively using – antibiotics. The biofilm is resistant to antibiotics, so to be sure of elimination of BV, both men and women must effectively address the biofilm. This can be done in a few ways, but because men are not tested, removing the biofilm from the penis is very much an at-home operation, much like all biofilm eradication methods for BV (see Killing BV support section for specific treatment plans for men – you must be logged in).
There is so little research into BV in men that nobody has yet offered up any sort of treatment at all, bar antibiotics which are still not routine for men. Once a woman treats herself – and has been three months without a flare-up or non-condomed sex – her partner is very likely to be free from BV without any treatment too, but condoms are necessary in the short-term to prevent reinfection and steps can be taken to help reduce any lingering penile biofilms.
Antibiotics do not work in men, for the same reasons they don’t work in women. If your doctor suggests taking antibiotics for male sexual partners, try the Killing BV men’s treatment first. It can be a waste of valuable antibiotic resistance development in your body. Read more about antibiotic treatments for male partners of women with BV.
After successfully treating BV, the female vaginal microflora should be very strong after three months, but it is advisable to be really careful and don’t go too gung-ho with the semen – and the penis – until it is clear the BV won’t be returning.
Key facts on BV in men:
- Condoms stop the spread and reinfection of BV between all sexual partners, male or female
- Men’s G. vaginalis infection seems to most often disappear without continued contact with a BV vagina, but the time it takes to go away is not known
- Men can spread different biotypes of G. vaginalis to different women, infecting them (BV can be sexually transmitted)
- A man can be treated using elements of the Killing BV treatment protocol with or without a female partner
Treatment strategies for men
Our treatment strategy – Killing BV: Guide for Men – also comes with free email support for men and women, and our exclusive support section providing access to treatment strategies for men in conjunction with our treatments for women.
Treatment strategies for single/poly men who have been in contact with BV vaginas
If you are a man who wants access to the treatment strategies, but does not have a female partner who is being treated for BV, we recommend you read Killing BV: Guide for Men so you understand the problem and how you are contributing to the spread of bacterial vaginosis, and how to get rid of it. It is not just a women’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem.