Bacterial vaginosis is one of the many diseases that attack the female reproductive system. The female reproductive system is usually highly susceptible to various infections more than the male system. This is mostly due to the larger surface area exposed, and its sensitivity to pH change and bacteria.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis (BV), which also goes by the name vaginal bacteriosis, is a bacterial disease that attacks the vagina of female human beings. It is brought about by an imbalance of normal bacteria in the vagina. Normally the vagina contains naturally occurring bacteria and other microorganisms that are crucial to its functioning.
When the bacteria become too many (overgrowth) a bacterial infection occurs. This is what is referred to as vaginal bacteriosis. Most people confuse the disease with yeast infection due to the closeness of symptoms of the two diseases. Although some people may consider the disease as a sexually transmitted disease, the world health organization does not agree with the statement.
Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
The major cause of the disease as mentioned earlier is the change in the number of bacteria, in the vagina. Generally, the chemical and biological imbalance of the normal vaginal flora is what causes vaginal bacteriosis.
Some of the bacteria in the vagina produce hydrogen peroxide, which works to prevent the over multiplication of certain bacteria. If the hydrogen peroxide producing bacteria are reduced then more resistant, bacteria tend to overgrow hence causing the infection.
The following are some of the causes that lead to the above situation;
i. Use of antibiotics.
ii. Cigarette smoking.
iii. Vaginal douching. In French to douche has a meaning of soaking or cleaning. Vaginal douching is the use of certain fluids to clean out the vagina. Although it is widely believed to be beneficial in that it reduces odor, minimizes risk of STIs and cleans out blood after the monthly periods, most doctors do not recommend the process. This is because douching presents a risk of upsetting the normal setup of vaginal bacteria.
iv. Change in pH of the vagina. This can be caused by a variety of things like, washing the vagina with soap or antiseptics, wearing underwear that has been washed using a strong detergent, perfumed and scented baths and vaginal deodorants.
One common misconception is that sexual activity is a leading cause of BV. Research has shown that the infection can occur even in females who have never engaged in sexual activity. However, having multiple sexual partners or having a new sexual partner can lead to a case of vaginal bacteriosis.
Bacterial Vaginosis Symptoms
In about half of the women who are affected by vaginal bacteriosis, there are no signs and symptoms that occur. In other words, it means that the disease is asymptomatic in most women. The other symptomatic half experience mild symptoms such as a mild irritation during urination and some itching on the outside of the vagina. The signs are mostly evident in the vaginal discharge, which turns grayish, gets thin and watery and attains an unpleasant smell that is described as ‘fishy’.
How It Can Affect You and Your Lifestyle
Although the symptoms and signs accompanying vaginal bacteriosis are mild and easy to cope with, the effect of the infection on your lifestyle can be considerably huge. For one, women tend to get extremely uncomfortable with the unpleasant smell. This together with the discharge may hamper and significantly interfere with the sex life of a female. All this may lead to a great amount of stress, which will naturally affect the health of the body.
Usually vaginal bacteriosis does not cause any other health complications. However, in certain situations some health issues and complications may arise. For example, in pregnant women, the infection may cause premature birth, premature labor and infection of the amniotic fluid, the Uterus and the pelvic organs.
Another effect of BV on a woman is the increased chances of contracting HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases especially gonorrhea, Chlamydia and genital herpes.
How to Cure Bacterial Vaginosis
Curing the infection involves a three pronged approach; that is diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Let’s start with diagnosis.
The diagnosis of vaginal bacteriosis involves obtaining a swab from inside the vagina. The swab is then tested for the infection using various methods. Some of the tests involve;
i. Increase in the pH of the vagina. A normal vagina has a slightly acidic nature. During infection, the pH tends to rise towards alkalinity. If the swab shows a pH of greater than 4.5 then the presence of the infection is a probability.
ii. A fishy smell is a very reliable indicator of the infection.
iii. The presence of clue cells. These are cells that give a clue as to the reason of the discharge. They can be viewed using a microscope.
Two positive test results plus the discharge is enough to diagnose the disease. If there is no discharge, then the three tests have to be positive for the infection to be positively diagnosed.
At times, treatment of BV is not necessary since the infection can clear up by itself in a few days. However to avoid any unexpected complications it is advisable to seek treatment as soon as possible. The infection is usually treated medically using antibiotics. There are three common antibiotics used.
i. Metronidazole – The drug is available in both tablet and gel forms. It is the most common and proffered form of treating vaginal bacteriosis. It is also the recommended treatment of the infection in pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding.
ii. Clindamycin – It is used in case the Metronidazole fails to work or the infection recurs. It is available in the form of capsules and as a cream. When taking the drug, women are advised to use extra contraception methods since the common ones especially barrier methods are not as effective.
iii. Tinidazole – This is an alternative to clindamycin. It is taken orally.
The infection usually goes away after treatment, but if it persists, it is vital to see a gynecologist or an obstetrician if the woman is pregnant.
Bacterial Vaginosis Home Remedy – What You Must Know!
Some of the home remedies involve the use of medications and there are also some natural remedies which involve the use of the natural ways to get a solution from the problem. Based from research, yogurt is an effective home remedy treatment. Because of the use of this outstanding bacterial vaginosis treatment, this will help reduce the bacterial growth in the vagina of the person.
Basically, yogurt being one of the most effective home remedies for BV options contains the lactobacillus acidophilus. Because of the presence of this organism in yogurt, this will assist in the proper restoration of equilibrium in a woman’s vagina. Therefore, the bacteria present will not grow and they will be killed. Ideally, you have to consume two to three cups yogurt.
Aside from that, you can also use tampon that is drenched in yogurt and insert it into your vagina. Because of doing this, you can easily get the solution to the problem. Diet is also the best natural home remedy for BV. Usually, your diet affects the growth of the bacteria in your vagina.
There are some foods that you need to avoid in order for this home remedy to be successful. Examples of the items you need to refrain from eating are fermented items, chocolate, soy sauce, alcohol, vinegar, sugar, cheese and many more. Because of ingesting these kinds of foods, it will be possible for the bacteria in your vagina to replicate in a faster rate.
Effective Bacterial Vaginosis home Remedies
Make sure that you consult for the services of professionals in terms of the right foods you need. Once you know the right foods that you need to consume, you will no longer need to use many of the home remedies available.
There are also some substances which can be an effective home remedy for your case. Examples of these are Beta-Dine as well as Gentian Violet. This is among the most common stuffs prescribed by doctors which serve as an effective BV home remedy.
However when you are using beta-dine as your remedy for BV, you need to keep in mind that this is just perfect for people who are not bearing a child. Therefore, this home remedy is not indicated for mothers who are pregnant. Both the Gentian Violet and the Beta-Dine contain anti-fungal properties.
Aside from the effects of these BV remedy items in terms of curing the condition, this will also reduce the intensity of the manifestations of the disease. But for people who are suffering from allergy to iodine and shellfish, you must not use these items as your bacterial vaginosis treatment since these will cause an allergic reaction.
Warm water bath is also a powerful BV home remedy. This is the one of natural remedies in which they are commonly advocated by experts in the field of reproductive health. What makes this BV remedy effective is that this will help soothe the vaginal tissues.
Therefore, there will be proper delivery of the white blood cells leading to the reduction of the organisms harboring in your vagina. Moreover, the warm temperature of the water in this remedy will also kill some of the weak organisms present in your vagina.
However one point of consideration when you are using the remedy for BV at home is to adjust the right temperature of the water. This is to avoid any skin injury because of too high water temperature.
Douche As BV Home Remedy
Douche is also a nice home remedy. Specifically, boric acid type of douche is the helpful remedy for BV since this will acidify the overall pH of the vagina. But then, there are some women who are sensitive to Boric Acid that is why that tends to refrain from using the cures for BV at home.
If you share the same sentiment, you can use summer’s eve medicated douche. This type of remedy douche contains potassium iodide which is effective in terms of lowering the overall pH of the vagina. If you find it hard to look for this ingredient of douche, you can use vinegar as your remedy at home, here is the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. In every tablespoon of vinegar, you have to mix it with one quart of warm water to reduce its concentration.
Practicing Safe Sex – Bacterial Vaginosis Home Remedy
In addition to that, safe sex is also a must. If you are having intercourse with the other people, it is important that you will use protective means to avoid getting organism from the other people who are harboring organisms. The use of vaginal condom is an example.
Because of the use of this kind of sex protective device, you will not just protect your vagina from harboring some organisms from your partner but you will also confine the bacteria in your sex organ which will reduce the possibility of transmission to your partner. Therefore, there is a two way protection when you practice safe sex. This remedy is especially applicable when you have multiple partners.
These are among the home remedy selections that you must keep in mind. Because of knowing some of these remedies, you will be given with the treatment and the cure with your problem. But still, it is important for you to consult with the expert to determine the possible complexity of the bacterial vaginosis you have and if the remedy is suitable for your situation.
How Can I Prevent Myself From Being Infected With Bacterial Vaginosis?
Despite research and treatment, bacterial vaginosis is still not completely understood. The very best ways to prevent it are currently unknown.
BV prevention usually involves not doing anything that may cause a change in the vaginal pH and taking prescribed antibiotics only. It is always advisable not to have multiple sex partners as one will be increasing your chance of getting BV. Due to the fact that such condition is not categorize as a type of sexually transmitted disease (STI), hence it will not be transmitted when you between a man and a woman. Safe sex is essential to prevent all sorts of related disease as everyone knows, prevention is better than cure.
BV is known to be strongly correlated with new or multiple sex partners. The following steps can be taken to help prevent and reduce your risk of being infected with Bacterial vaginosis:
- Limiting your number of sexual partners
- Refraining from douching
- Accepting and educating yourself with natural treatment procedures