There are a lot of good bacteria in the vagina, most specifically lactobacilli, which produces lactic acid. When lactobacilli levels are low, an imbalance occurs. Then you are left with an increase of bad bacteria called Gardnerella vaginitis and a small group of symptoms that make up the condition of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). Also known as Vaginal Bacteriosis, it is a very common vaginal infection. You can experience BV and have no symptoms, but when they do occur, they can be rather unpleasant. The major symptoms listed below can also be relieved somewhat by home remedies. If you decide not to take antibiotics to return your bacteria levels to normal, then read on to find relief!
This is the most common symptom of Bacterial Vaginosis, and it consists of a gray, white or yellow vaginal discharge. Having vaginal discharge is actually quite normal. It occurs when the glands inside the cervix and vagina, secrete a fluid to carry away any bacteria and dead cells. It’s is basically a way of self-cleaning, which, in turn, prevents infection. What makes discharge abnormal is when there is a change in the balance of bacteria; this will cause usually clear to milky white discharge to become more colored. This, combined with the other symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis, is the way your body tells you there is something not quite right….down there.
A woman’s discharge may change its odor throughout the various cycles of the year. Naturally, if you are not on top of personal hygiene, this can cause an unwanted smell, but it will also change due to your hormones, or if, for example, you are pregnant. An unwanted smell coming from any vaginal discharge is that which tends to be ‘fishy.’ This smell can be worse after sexual intercourse or at particular times of your menstrual cycle. This is a foul smell, which is rather unpleasant, and one that you do not have to live with. Once the bacterial imbalance is rectified, your natural vaginal odor will return.
Itching of the vagina can be incredibly uncomfortable on a day-to-day basis, but sadly one that many women tend to just ‘live with’ instead of seeing a doctor. It is also a common symptom of a yeast infection, otherwise known as thrush. When a woman starts to itch in and around the vagina, the most common response is that they are suffering from a bout of thrush, but is not always the case. The irregular pH balance in your body and the bacteria that are forming inside can also cause itching. Itching is a symptom that does not go unnoticed, so you should definitely see your women’s health professional as soon as possible.
As with many infections in and around the vagina and the urinary tract, a burning sensation when urinating is often felt. This is mainly because the skin around the vagina is red and sore. Of course, it then doesn’t help when the skin becomes itchy; this just exacerbates the problem further and can lead to more infection. The burning sensation is felt mainly when urinating, but can also be uncomfortable though discharge, anything that will irritate the skin. The burning sensation is stronger after intercourse, and it can be extremely uncomfortable.
Pelvic pain is used as a general term to describe any kind of discomfort felt within the pelvis. This can begin as a dull pain and is only rarely linked with Bacterial Vaginosis, However, if BV goes untreated it can cause great amounts of pain in the pelvic region, as the bacteria imbalance can increase your risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is the swelling and inflammation of the womb, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Be aware if you have a pain in and around the pelvis and lower back, experience a deep pain during or after sexual intercourse, or if you bleed between your periods.
Dilute apple cider vinegar
Being careful not to use scented soaps or any form of douching, there are some wonderful home remedies to use to help the Bacterial Vaginosis clear up on its own. Apple cider vinegar is on top of the list to use because of its acidic nature and the fact it increases the vaginas natural vaginal acidity. Add 1 -2 cups of apple cider vinegar to your bath and sit in it for up to 20 minutes. Pat, the vaginal area, dry when finished. Bathe with this solution daily until your condition improves.
Drops of tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and has antifungal properties. This is good news for Bacterial Vaginosis sufferers, as it will work to clear your BV efficiently without being harmful, as long as you don’t use too much tea tree. Just a few drops of this essential oil added to a small bowl of warm water are enough to use as a bathing solution. Rinse your vagina with this solution every day for up to 3 – 4 weeks. Bathe your vagina gently. You can also add three drops of tea tree to lukewarm bathwater, plus a cup of white vinegar, and soak for half an hour, but this remedy needs only to be performed every other day for as long as needed. The smell of tea tree is also so strong that is suffocates the foul smell that BV brings about.
Milk and yogurt
These dairy products are full of lactobacillus, which are beneficial bacteria for your vagina. It helps fight the bad bacteria and maintain your pH balance. Especially natural yogurt. Use yogurt as a cream and dip a cotton pad into a tub of yogurt and place it on the affected area. Leave for half an hour (best to keep sitting, so it won’t dislodge with movement). After half an hour wash away with clean water and repeat three times a day. Alternatively, you can dip a tampon into yogurt or milk and act quickly by inserting it into your vagina for up to two hours, repeat twice daily until symptoms subside. Lastly, of course, eating yogurt is also good to restore any pH imbalance and keep up good flora levels for the bacteria in your body. However, at no point should you use anything containing sugar or sweetners on or near your genitals.
We all know garlic is a wonderful cure for a lot of sicknesses, eating garlic keeps your immune system boosted and healthy. Same principles are in effect here, but we are using it directly on the skin. Crushing 3 – 4 garlic cloves and using this as a paste. Apply to the affected area and leave on for 20 minutes. When the time is up, rinse off with warm water and repeat daily. Eating garlic, raw or cooked is also an excellent way to get this natural antibiotic into your system. But if you can’t stand the smell or taste, then garlic capsules are available from your local pharmacy.
Ok, this may sound a little trivial, but wearing the right underwear for your vagina is crucial to making it a safe place so you can do all the things that you want to do with it. Cotton fabric breathes with your body; synthetic underwear has no breathable features and encourages an area of warmth and dampness, this environment breeds bacteria. Therefore, cotton underwear is the way to go. It is also a good idea not to wear underwear when you sleep at night, especially synthetic underwear. Let the vagina breathe. There are many fashionable, and comfortable cotton underwear options so don’t be scared, embrace the shopping and the change, and your vagina will thank you.