Home Medications and Treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis, or vaginitis, is a common vaginal infection observed among women in their reproductive phase (12-50 years of age) and among those who are sexually active. Statistics reveal that in the United States almost 16% of pregnant women suffer from bacterial vaginosis and that 10-64% of women suffer from this condition at any given time. Bacterial vaginosis occurs more frequently and is more widespread than yeast infections.
Although there are several natural home remedies that may contribute to the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, patients should seek professional assistance if the condition persists or if its symptoms become unbearable.
The most common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis are irritation and itching in the vagina. Scratching the vaginal itch may cause further infection. In some cases, these symptoms may be accompanied with redness, swelling and light bleeding. Some women complain of a severe burning sensation that occurs during urination.
Bacterial Vaginosis also alters the color and the odor of regular vaginal discharge. There may be excess discharge accompanied by a fishy odor and this occurs particularly after sexual activity. The bacterial infection also raises the pH level of the vagina.
Some women who are experiencing bacterial vaginosis may not experience any physical symptoms. However, vaginitis increases the patient’s risk of acquiring other sexually transmitted diseases including gonorrhea and chlamydia. Women also become greatly vulnerable to contracting HIV (AIDS virus) from infected partners.
Bacterial vaginosis can create complications among pregnant women. Early diagnosis is extremely important because if bacterial vaginosis is left untreated the patient may eventually develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), cervicitis and other diseases related to the pelvic area.
The vagina maintains a delicate balance of healthy bacteria that belong to the Lactobacilli family. Two primary types of bacteria, called Lactobacillus jensenii and Lactobacillus crispatus, prevent the growth of germs in the vagina by producing a disinfectant called hydrogen peroxide.
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the healthy bacteria are replaced by an overabundance of undesirable and harmful bacteria called Gardnerella. Gardnerella disrupt the disinfectant mechanism of Lactobacilli. Factors leading to the growth of Gardnerella are not confirmed but specific behaviors appear to favor their multiplication.
Undergarments, especially those made from synthetic fabric, fail to absorb vaginal moisture and contribute to the development of bacterial vaginosis. Tight clothing also retains moisture and thus increases the probability of contracting the infection.
Perfumed tampons contain chemicals that disrupt the normal pH balance of the vagina and inhibit the production of healthy vaginal bacteria. The use of unsterilized contraception devices such as cervical caps and diaphragms, and the use of spermicidal applicators, are also responsible for the development of this infection.
The failure to practice good vaginal hygiene is another factor responsible for the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis and examples of this involve the improper or infrequent cleansing of the vagina. Ironically, bacterial vaginosis can also be caused by using feminine hygiene products such as douching, vaginal sprays or wipes. Avoid these products and use a mild soap and warm water to cleanse the vaginal area.
Although bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD), having sex with an infected partner can cause its symptoms. Frequent sexual activity in a short duration of time and having multiple sexual partners increase the risk of developing this condition as well.
Diabetes, impending menopause, malnutrition and lower levels of immunity further increase the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis is often mistaken for a vaginal yeast infection, another common problem faced by most women. An incorrect diagnosis and mistreatment of bacterial vaginosis may worsen the condition. Therefore, it is extremely important to obtain a correct diagnosis so that appropriate treatment can be obtained.
Yogurt, a rich source of Lactobacillus, can be applied directly on the affected region. Consuming yogurt in generous amounts also assists in treating bacterial vaginosis.
Patients may seek immediate relief from itching and irritation by applying a tea bag soaked in cold water on the affected area.
Herbs like Calendula, Goldenseal, Echinacea or Tea Tree oil have an anti-inflammatory effect. However, a doctor should be consulted before the utilization of any herbal douches.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Add a few cups of pure Apple Cider Vinegar to bath water and proceed to soak in it for at least 20 minutes. An Apple Cider Vinegar bath may aid in restoring the vagina’s normal pH level.
The benefits of following a healthy lifestyle should never be underestimated. Women should be particularly careful about their hygienic habits. It is recommended to use running water, preferably warm, and a mild bathing soap to clean the vagina every day. Avoid perfumed personal hygiene products such as toilet paper, tampons, napkins and soaps.
Douching is unnatural for the human body. It disrupts the vaginal bacterial balance and causes a pH imbalance that creates a breeding ground for Gardnerella. Avoid douching unless it is utilized to treat vaginitis.
Wear comfortable cotton panties that are suitable for absorbing moisture and wear a thoroughly washed pair each day. Women who frequently suffer from bacterial vaginosis should use new sets of underwear every three to six months to reduce the chance of contracting the infection.
Use clean spermicide applicators, diaphragms and other multiple use contraception devices and sterilize them properly after each use. Prevent the spread of intestinal bacteria such as E. coli from the anal region by wiping yourself clean from front to back.
Use condoms, especially if you have multiple sexual partners. Condoms also reduce the chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.