Bacterial Vaginitis is a common vaginal infection that affects many women of a reproductive age. The disease often develops after sexual intercourse with a new sexual partner and is not a sexually transmitted disease. Bacterial Vaginitis is caused by bacterial imbalance in the vagina. Normally, there are good bacteria in the vagina. However, bad bacteria can grow causing the infection. An overgrowth of bad bacteria due to certain activities, smoking and the use of specific hygiene products cause the infection. It is therefore an infection of the vagina often caused by Mobiluncus bacteria or by Gardnerella vaginallies. It is characterized by excessive clear, white, yellow, odorless or fishy discharge. A woman with Bacterial Vaginitis can display symptoms while some have no clear symptoms. Note that the infection is not the only cause of vagina discharge. There are other vaginal infections including thrush or candida that cause discharge. Therefore, proper diagnosis is essential for quality treatment.
Causes of Bacterial Vaginitis
There are many causes of Bacterial Vaginitis. The infection is however highly linked to bacterial imbalance in the vagina. This is an imbalance of naturally occurring bacterial flora. There is no proven reason as to why the imbalance occurs. Normally, there are good and harmful bacteria in the vagina. Good bacteria are more than harmful bacteria. However, when there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, bacterial vaginosis occurs. Even so, the exact role that bad bacteria play in causing bacterial vaginitis is not clear.
Normally, a female’s vagina should contain enough lactic acid bacteria. This is called lactobacilli and they produce lactic acid hence, making vaginal area slightly acidic. This prevents growth of other forms of bacteria that could cause infections. When the vagina becomes less acidic, chances of bad bacteria growing is very high meaning that you are at risk of developing the infection. Any female can develop the infection including pregnant women and those of child bearing age. There are activities and behaviors that cause bacterial imbalance in the vagina causing BV. They include
- Having a bath using antiseptic liquid
- Having a perfumed bubble bath and using scented soaps
- New sex partner or having multiple sex partners
- Douching using a medicated solution to clean the vagina
- Using vaginal deodorants
- Cleaning your underwear using strong detergents
- Using intrauterine device made of copper and plastic
- A woman who has never had sexual intercourse is also at a high risk of developing bacterial vaginitis
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginitis
A patient with bacterial vaginitis may have symptoms of the infection while others do not display any symptom at all. More than 50 percent of women who have BV have no clear symptoms. What’s more, there are other vaginal infections that have signs and symptoms that are similar to BV symptoms. Therefore, whenever you suspect the infection, it is imperative to seek medical assistance. A medic will carry out tests to determine whether you are infected or not.
- Watery and thin vaginal discharge- the discharge is the main symptom of bacterial vaginitis and is heavy and noticeable after a period or after having sex
- Grey or white vaginal discharge
- Unpleasant and strong smell from the vagina-this is often described as a fishy smell
- A burning sensation during urination
- Itching around the vagina especially outside the vagina or on the lips
As mentioned earlier, bacterial vaginitis is not the only infection that causes a vaginal discharge. Thrush and Candida are also common vaginal infections that cause itchiness, soreness and discharge from the vagina as well as the Vulva. This is why it is imperative to go for diagnosis to rule out the possibility of other vaginal infections and for quality treatment.
Bacterial Vaginitis Home Remedies
Bacterial vaginitis can lower your self esteem. The good thing is that the symptoms go away after sometime. This occurs when normal and good bacterial increase to the normal levels and the level of harmful bacteria decrease. If the symptoms do not clear, you can consider settling for available remedies. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Yogurt– Yogurt is known to be quite effective in getting rid of bacterial vaginitis. Plain or flavored yogurt helps to get rid of BV. You can take a cup of yogurt daily or even two cups till the symptoms clear. Plain yogurt can also be inserted in the vagina.
- Apple cider vinegar- Apple cider vinegar is additionally an effective remedy to BV. Use one to two cups of apple vinegar on your bath water and soak for about 20 minutes. Vinegar is quite effective in fighting toxins and germs that cause the infection.
- Folic acid– Folic acid is also an effective remedy for bacterial vaginitis. This helps to cure BV and to strengthen your immune system. It can be used in combination with hydrogen peroxide and yogurt. Consider high intake of folic acid in your diet to eliminate BV and to strengthen your immune system.
- Garlic- Garlic has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. This is because garlic contains a chemical substance allicin which is antimicrobial. Tender and right size garlic cloves are inserted into the vagina during the day time to naturally kill and inhibit growth of the infectious bacteria.
- Tea tree oil- This is a native welsh tree called Meleleuca Alternifolia in scientific terms. The alcoholic extract of tea tree oil is diluted with water and used to clean the vagina daily. A tampon is also saturated with the tea tree oil extract and inserted into the vagina like normally done during periods. Tea tree oil extract has powerful fungicidal and bactericidal properties which has made it a preferred first aid and an antiseptic for long in Wales. The use of tea tree oil as a vaginal antiseptic began in 1991 and has since been used for treatment of Candida Albicans and Trichomonas.
- Echinacea- This is taken as a supplement or taken in tincture form to cure bacterial Vaginitis. The other herbal remedies for bacterial Vaginitis include goldenseal, black walnut, conflower and Indian gooseberry.
- Hydrastis Canadensis/Golden seal- This herb has been used for remedy of infections and inflammatory conditions of the infectious conditions of the sections of the body lined with mucous membranes. Hydrastis Canadensis is considered and endangered species and is therefore an expensive herbal medicine to use. A closer substitute has been the Oregon grape root whose extract will heal inflammations with repeated use.
Diet for Bacterial Vaginitis
BV can clear on its own. However, it can recur and dietary changes will help prevent and cure the infection. A healthy diet is known to help in balancing the level of good bacteria in the vagina. Eating foods that are rich in lactobacilli helps to prevent and treat the infection. Therefore, incorporate yogurt, acidophilus milk and kefir in your diet. There are great sources of Lactobacilli.
Garlic also contains antibiotic properties. It is highly recommended to use garlic in your food and as a vaginal suppository. It is effective in treating BV and in preventing an infection in the future.
More importantly, it is essential to stick to a healthy diet to prevent bacterial vaginitis. A healthy diet helps to build a very strong immunity system. This prevents cases of BV. Consider a diet that is rich on fiber, lactobacilli and whole grains. Fish, meat, fresh organic produce, water in plenty and poultry helps to treat and prevent a recurrence of BV.
Eat a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain in plenty. Nutritional supplements are also incredible including Vitamin C supplements because it helps to boost the immune system. Water in plenty helps to keep the body well hydrated and prevents overgrowth of bad bacteria. It also flushes out toxins, extra sugar in your system and eliminates all major sources of bad bacteria from in the vagina. Additionally, consider cranberry juice. It is quite effective in treating BV and preventing a recurrence. This is because it contains high levels of acid that prevents growth of bad bacteria in the vagina.
Try to avoid food that provides room for growth of bad bacteria. White bread, white rice and glucose sugar content should be taken in moderation. They are a source of bad bacteria and can aggravate symptoms of BV. Additionally, avoid excessive intake of salt in your diet. This not only increase chances of BV infection but it also leads to water retention on the body thus, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections.
Prevention of Bacterial Vaginitis
Bacterial Vaginitis can lower your self esteem especially if it is accompanied by a fishy smell. The mentioned remedies are quite effective. However, prevention is better than cure. You can prevent BV by avoiding certain activities including taking douching, using scented soaps and pads, avoid the use strong detergents on your underpants, having more than sexual partner, changing your sexual partners and having a bubble bath among other activities that increase growth of bad bacteria.
Maintain a healthy diet to prevent bacteria. A healthy diet prevents growth of bad bacteria and boosts your immune system. It supplies the body with essential nutrients that help to maintain normal levels of good bacteria in the vagina and prevents BV. Additionally, if you have been treated for BV, a healthy diet will help to prevent a recurrence of the infection.
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