It has been reported that 1 out 5 women experience an episode of bacterial vaginosis by the time they hit 50. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a very common and treatable infection of the vagina caused by bacteria. Some women experience a recurring attack of BV in their lifetime. Although it isn’t an STD, it’s easily communicable.
The vagina has protective microbes and an acidic pH that prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. But, whenever there’s an imbalance in the vaginal pH and protective bacterial count, an infection can develop. This change in balance often occurs due to reasons like having multiple partners, having an IUD or application of perfumed products on the vagina.
Common Symptoms Of Bacterial Vaginosis
- Vaginal discharge that appears white or gray in color with a fishy or musty odor
- Frothy or clumpy vaginal discharge leads to urine cloudiness
- Pain and burning sensation around the vagina and during urination
- Vaginal skin looks red and feels sensitive
8 Natural Treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms
Dealing with bacterial vaginosis includes adopting certain lifestyle modification to combat the infection.
1. Don’t Wash Your Genital Area With Harsh Products
The vagina and perianal area are the most sensitive areas in the body. Refrain from using chemical-laden soaps or deodorants in these regions. This is to prevent the severe imbalance in the vaginal pH and microflora that can be caused by chemicals. Only use warm water to keep your vagina clean during a bout of infection and avoid soap altogether.
2. Maintain Proper Intimate Hygiene
To aid in faster recovery it’s best to wear clean and light cotton fabrics as bottom wear and underwear during BV. Don’t use scented sanitary napkins or tampons if you are on your period during the infection. Change pads or tampons every 4-6 hours to keep the infection in check.
Always keep the vaginal area dry and don’t wear tight-fitting and wet undergarments or bottom-wear.
3. Make Time For Daily Sitz Baths
A warm sitz bath is the best way to soothe an inflamed genital and anal region. All you have to do is to find time to have a sitz bath at least 2 times a day. A sitz bath relieves inflammation, improves circulation thereby promoting healing of the affected vaginal tissues. You even add apple cider vinegar, baking soda or tea tree oil to it for an enhanced antimicrobial action.
Fill a wide bucket or tub with warm water and add 1-2 cups of organic apple cider vinegar or add 1-2 tbsps of baking soda or 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. Soak your lower body for 15 minutes. Dry the genital area and dispose of the water. 1
4. Make Coconut Oil A Part Of Your Lifestyle
Coconut oil is renowned antibacterial and antifungal agent. Several scientific studies have identified that coconut oil can be a cost-effective home remedy for bacterial vaginosis. You can soothe irritated vaginal tissues by applying coconut oil directly to it. Coconut oil when consumed through your diet while cooking can regulate blood-sugar levels and boost immunity.2
5. Don’t Douche At Any Cost
Many women have the misconception that flushing the vagina with water by douching can get rid of BV. However, this practice can lead to the removal of healthy vaginal bacteria. Long-term studies have proven that it can actually worsen the infection.3
6. Follow An Alkaline Diet
Having an alkaline diet is the best way to make your body environment non-conducive for bacterial growth. Microbes flourish in acidic pH and having alkaline foods will prevent the pH imbalance from happening in their favor. Include these foods in your diet if you are currently suffering from BV or have suffered in the past.4
- Fresh fruits and vegetables like mushrooms, citrus, dates, raisins, spinach, grapefruit, tomatoes, avocado, broccoli, oregano, garlic, ginger, green beans, endive, cabbage, celery, red beet, watermelon, figs, and ripe bananas
- Plant proteins like almonds and beans
- Drinking water made alkaline by adding lemon or baking soda to it
- Fresh juice made from green leafy vegetables or wheat grass as the chlorophyll in them helps to alkalize blood
7. Increase Your Intake Of Probiotics
Probiotics are great for increasing the gut flora and helpful bacteria in the body. Make sure that you supplement your diet with cultured or fermented foods that have active lactobacillus in it. These include foods like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha.5
8. Practice Safer Sex
During BV, the vagina’s immunity is low. This makes it very vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections. To be on the safer side abstain from sex or have it with barrier protection methods like condoms. This will not only prevent the spread of infection to your partner but also protects your vagina from other harmful microbes. Receiving oral sex is also not advised during BV as it increases the chances of transmission.
In pregnant women especially, BV can be life-threatening to the developing fetus. To prevent complications, consult your gynecologist immediately if you are expecting or nursing. Practice the above remedies and be stress-free and take rest to speed up recovery.6
|↑1||Having a Sitz Bath at Home. UHN|
|↑2||Newell-Fugate, Annie E., Katherine Lenz, Cassandra Skenandore, Romana A. Nowak, Bryan A. White, and Andrea Braundmeier-Fleming. “Effects of coconut oil on glycemia, inflammation, and urogenital microbial parameters in female Ossabaw mini-pigs.” PloS one 12, no. 7 (2017): e0179542.|
|↑3, ↑6||Martino, Jenny L., and Sten H. Vermund. “Vaginal douching: evidence for risks or benefits to women’s health.” Epidemiologic reviews 24, no. 2 (2002): 109-124.|
|↑4||Schwalfenberg, Gerry K. “The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health?.” Journal of environmental and public health 2012 (2011).|
|↑5||Bodean, O., O. Munteanu, C. Cirstoiu, D. Secara, and M. Cirstoiu. “Probiotics-a helpful additional therapy for bacterial vaginosis.” Journal of medicine and life 6, no. 4 (2013): 434.|