This usually wont make headline news, but recurrent bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common problems that affect women’s reproductive organs. BV is a condition caused by the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina. Normally there are both good bacteria and bad bacteria present in the vagina. The good bacteria like lactobacilli help to disinfect the vagina. However, if the bad bacteria like Gardnerella vaginalis multiply out of control they will inhibit the good bacteria from doing their job. This will result in swelling of genital areas.
Having recurrent bacterial vaginosis can be problematic
Having this infection is not usually the main issue. In fact, in some cases the infection will go away without you having to use any form of treatment. The problem usually comes when BV becomes chronic/recurrent: – what is usually called: Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis. But why is it so common for this infection reoccur after treatment?
There might be many reason for that, but because the pathogenesis of BV is not completely understood, treatment is not always effective. In fact, in almost half of all cases, BV reoccurs within 3-6 weeks after treatment. This is because antibiotics like metronidazole or Clindamycin which have harmful side- effects, cause an imbalance in the levels of bacteria in the vagina by killing both good and bad bacteria. However, metronidazole has the lowest re-occurrence rate among the antibiotic treatments. Another reason why the infection may become recurrent is the wrong or insufficient use of antibiotics. (always take the full treatment doze, even if you get refile after some few days of using the medication)
Common symptoms of recurrent bacterial vaginosis are:
- The infection reoccurs every 3-6 months
- The infection reoccurs either before, during or after your menstrual cycle
- Strong fishy smell especially after sexual intercourse.
- Irritation and discomfort around the vaginal area.
- Vaginal discharge which is gray or white in color.
- Pain during intercourse.
If at least 3 of the symptoms are present, the patient has a positive recurrent BV diagnosis. BV infection is known to increase a woman’s susceptibility to STD’s including AIDS. Other risks may include;
- Postsurgical infections.
- Spontaneous abortion.
- Low birth weight.
How do I stop recurrent bacterial vaginosis?
As stated earlier, most antibiotics will only be effective in the short-term. So for a more permanent solution you can follow the steps which I have outlined below.
1. You should use RepHresh vaginal gel to help prevent recurring BV infections. This is an over the counter treatment that helps to balance the PH levels in the vagina. This reduces the chances of recurring BV infections. The proper dosage for this treatment is once in 3 days especially after having your menstrual cycle or having intercourse.
2. Follow a well balanced diet. Diets that are rich in sugars, white flour, processed meals and cholesterols are thought to encourage the growth of bacteria which cause recurrent BV. By eating foods which contain enough vitamins and minerals, you will boost your immune system and thus be able to fight off infections.
3. Adopt good hygienic practices. Clean your vaginal area each day. Do not wear clothes which are too tight or damp because this will only facilitate the growth of anaerobic bacteria in your vagina.
4. Do not wash the vagina with scented soaps or solutions of water, vinegar and baking powder. All these solutions will only cause an imbalance in the level of bacteria in the vaginal area. Instead when cleaning, you can use a solution of apple cider with water. Apply this solution to your vagina and wash with clean water. You can also apply ground vitamin E to the affected region.
5. Ensure that you always have enough sleep and avoid stress. Research has revealed that stress usually weakens the immune system hence your body will not be effective in fighting of infections.
6. Adopt safe sexual practices. This includes using protection during sex and not having multiple sex partners. However, do not take birth control pills which can cause an imbalance in the vaginal bacteria.
7. You can use yoghurt as a natural treatment. Eating around two cups of yogurt a day is said to balance the bacteria in the vagina. You can also soak a tampon in yogurt and insert it directly into the vagina.
Apart from using yoghurt, most of the steps I have outlined above generally involve you changing your lifestyle i.e. they are only preventive measures. If you do have BV and you want a more permanent remedy I would recommend using natural products like yoghurt. However, most women complain that natural treatments are usually slow in treating BV. This is true, but if you look at the bigger picture, natural treatments are more effective in stopping BV from recurring. Examples of other natural remedies include:
Garlic – This is a very effective bacterial vaginosis treatment because of its strong anti-fungal properties. Peel the garlic and cover it with in sterile gauze and lubricate it with vegetable oil and then apply it in to vagina. Eating raw garlic is also recommended.
Tea tree oil - This is also effective in treating BV. It works by strengthening the lactobacilli bacterium in you vagina.
Boric acid and lemon – They will help in keeping the PH levels of the vagina low thus minimizing the risk of infection.
You are also advised to go for regular medical check-ups even if you don’t have BV symptoms. This is because in almost 85% of the women with BV, symptoms do not manifest. The reason for this is usually unknown. But always remember that natural cures are some of the most effective ways for getting rid of recurrent bacterial vaginosis. Your lifestyle will also count.