Any woman that has ever suffered with a bout of bacterial vaginosis (BV) knows from experience, how utterly annoying, painful, and embarrassing the symptoms of this condition can be. Although the symptoms are quite similar, an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast are two different types of infections. Common symptoms between the two may include: severe itching, burning during urination, pain during or after sexual intercourse, or an unusual looking discharge.
One of the tale tell signs of BV, though, is a very strong and foul smelling 'fishy' odor. Symptoms of BV can vary from person to person. Many women will not have any signs of a bacterial infection other than a nasty odor, and some may only have 1 or 2 of the symptoms mentioned above. Some women may not even know they have a BV infection, unless they are undergoing a pelvic exam for an unrelated matter.
Simply put, women that have a BV infection have too much 'bad' bacteria and not enough 'good' bacteria, upsetting the delicate flora balance inside the vagina. They don't have enough good germs to fight off an overgrowth of the bad germs that lead to the infection to begin with.
For many years, the first line of treatment for most women with this type of infection was to use an antibiotic. What many women are discovering now, is that antibiotics often provide only marginal results. Most find the infection appears to go away, only to return in the short-term with a different type of problem, a vaginal yeast infection.
Taking antibiotics for BV can lead to a vaginal yeast infection due to the over killing of good germs that keep candida yeast (which is normally present in the human body) in check. Without healthy populations of good bacteria inside the body, a potentially harmful bacterial or fungus overgrowth can soon take over the intestinal tract, or the vagina, leading to a lot of unnecessary suffering for both men and women.
Although there is no clear-cut evidence to support BV is spread through sexual activity, as some women still get it despite sexual abstinence, there are several known risk factors that make some people more susceptible to contacting a BV infection, and these risks are;
the overuse of antibiotics for any reason
douching and feminine deodorants disturb and irritate the natural delicate lining of the vagina
wearing synthetic undergarments, wet bathing suits, or tight fitting clothing that traps moisture
diets high in refined foods such as sugar, white flour, and processed fats
a vitamin D deficiency
BV is not a serious threat to your health by itself, if recognized and treated early. However, if left untreated, BV could quite possibly lead to a more serious medical condition such as pelvic inflammatory disease, cervicitis, and endometritis. Women who are pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant, need to be especially careful, as BV can cause unwanted risks of miscarriage, early delivery, or a uterine infection after delivery.
Something important to remember, is that all women have both 'good' and 'bad' bacteria present in the vagina, this is normal. BV just needs a small window of opportunity to mess up your life. Inexpensive, natural treatments can not only clear up the symptoms and the cause of the infection, but keep it from coming back to haunt you in the future.
Holistic options are fast gaining popularity, as they often work faster and more efficiently than prescription drugs. There are various kinds of home remedies to choose from. So, if one doesn't seem to be doing the trick, you can try using something else. The idea here, is that you can integrate several of these remedies at the same time. The added advantage to some of them is that you can either apply them topically, take them internally, or do both. The important thing, is these types of treatments have worked successfully for a lot of women when antibiotics failed.
Replenish and maintain good bacteria throughout your system. Homemade fermented foods and beverages such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, or sour dough bread, for example, are excellent sources of good bacteria. They are fun, easy, and inexpensive to make. Or if convenience is your main concern, you can also take a good probiotic formula. You can find them at most health food stores (a more expensive source of probiotics than homemade sources).
Fresh garlic, or a good garlic supplement, is one of 'bad' bacteria's worst enemies. Garlic is a natural 'bad' boy germ killer.
Raw apple cider vinegar. Do not use distilled vinegars. Distilled vinegar will actually feed a yeast infection.
Extra virgin coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids caprylic, capric, and lauric. Keeps candida yeast normally present in your system under control. Good if you do not know for sure which type of infection you have, and a beneficial dietary fat that is relevant to good health. Can't afford extra virgin coconut oil? Expeller-pressed is cheaper, and the next best option.
Have your vitamin D blood levels checked. Request that the results be interpreted by 'LabCorp', for the most reliable reading currently available in the U.S. Deficient?Get more sunlight exposure, or supplement with vitamin D-3.
Reduce your intake of refined foods and beverages. Include more fresh, raw fruits and vegetables.
This one is pretty simplistic, but should be self-explanatory, drink a lot more water. Regardless of what type of health issue you are currently facing. Water is a very powerful home remedy for nearly anything you can think of. Besides, the more of it you drink, the more you will need to eliminate, thus flushing your entire system of excessive toxins and sugar.
BV is a rather common occurrence among women of child-bearing age. No one needs to live in the emotional pain of the shame that living in the darkness can impose upon the ignorant. BV is highly treatable, and several of the home remedies mentioned in this article will work for both types of vaginal infections. Know that covering up the symptoms is not enough to keep it from reoccurring, and there is more than one way to treat it.
My desire is to give you hope of living a normal life, without the fear of this very intimate matter bothering your personal life again.