Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), also known as vaginal bacteriosis and bacterial vaginitis, is a particular condition of vaginal infection, most commonly found among women of child-bearing age. Though the disease is common among sexually active women, studies have shown that it is not a sexually transmitted infection.
What Causes BV?
This kind of mild infection is caused by a specific type of bacteria called anaerobes, which overgrows in the absence of oxygen. The vaginal area of women harbours a number of species of bacteria. The main function of this bacterial flora is to defend the entry of any unwanted bacteria into the genital area. When there occurs some imbalance in this normal flora by the abnormal growth of some bacteria, women’s genital area gets infected.
The abnormal growth in bacteria (anaerobes) causes vaginal discharge with foul odour. Thus, BV is caused by the imbalance in the bacterial flora, where anaerobe bacteria outnumber the other species of hydrogen peroxide-producing bacteria such as Lactobacillus. BV should not be confused with yeast infection (candidiasis), or infection with Trichomonas Vaginalis, since these are not due to bacteria.
The main reason for this outgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria over ‘good’ bacteria has not been identified yet, but having a new sexual partner or multiple sexual partners may increase the risk of Bacterial Vaginosis in women. The infection has also been observed in women who are not sexually active. Though it is not a life-threatening or serious disease, the discomforts caused by the infection is really irritating for most of the women.
Abnormal and excess production of vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell is the main symptom of Bacterial Vaginosis. Especially after doing intercourse, the discharge will be more. The intensive fishy smell causes embarrassment to most of the BV-infected women. It is also observed that BV-infected women are more susceptible to other vaginal infections and problems like endometritis and pelvic inflamatory disease (PID), if not treated properly.
Some women with Bacterial Vaginosis suffer burning sensation while passing urine, and itching and irritation around the outside of the vagina. Bacterial Vaginosis during pregnancy can cause complications such as still-birth, miscarriages and premature delivery. Medical diagnosis is necessary, as these symptoms may be due to some other problems other than BV.
Importance Of Herbal Treatment For BV
Women with Bacterial Vaginosis are usually treated with antibiotic medication. But these kind of over the counter products do not eradicate the root cause of BV; rather it treats the symptoms of the disease. Standard treatments kill the bacteria that cause the imbalance, but there are possibilities of reinfection. The best method is to treat the root cause of the infection to stop it from recurring.
The treatment should aim at bringing back the natural pH factor inside the vagina. Restoring the vaginal pH or the level of acidity is the best way to maintain the bacteria balance. this will make the vaginal atmosphere unfavorable for the bad bacteria. Herbal and natural methods are proved to be the best method to achieve optimum vaginal pH balance.
Since antibiotic medicines kill both the good and bad bacteria, BV infection is most likely to appear again after some months. Whereas, herbal and natural remedies eliminate only the bad bacteria, the outgrowth of which cause the imbalance leading to BV. Even though all the herbal remedies are harmless, it is better to consult your physician to be on the safer side.
1. Intake of home-made curd or buttermilk is an effective solution for Bacterial Vaginosis. It can also be applied in the private area. Curd has the ability to restore the bacterial balance as it contains ‘good’ bacteria that produce lactic acid. Pure unsweetened curd from cow or goat milk should be used, since bad bacteria flourish in sugar. Eat plenty of yogurt or butterilk in fixed intervals to cure Bacterial Vaginosis naturally.
2. Consumption of probiotic supplements can also cure Bacterial Vaginosis. Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria, which are necessary for human body to maintain the natural equilibrium of flora. As already mentioned, curd provides good bacteria. Besides this all the pure dairy products are rich supplements of probiotics. Probiotics contain a variety of bacteria, namely, lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria, some yeasts and bacilli, which can build a healthy environment inside the body. Probiotic supplements are also available from drug stores.
3. Always keep the genital area clean and dry. Especially after a bowel important, it is important to prevent anal bacteria to go inside vaginal area. Use anti-bacterial tissue wipes to avoid vaginal contamination. Cleaning the area completely will be a better option than wiping.
4. In order to keep the vaginal area neat and dry, mix apple cider vinegar with water and rinse properly. Applying Vitamin E will also help in curing BV and will relieve itching and irritation.
5. Topical application of tea tree oil is also proved to be effective in treating BV infection. The anti-bacterial properties of the tea tree oil will help in killing the bad bacteria. It can be applied directly onto the vaginal area, or can be sprinkled in the water. Other herbs like calendula, black walnut, goldenseal etc. are also helpful in soothing infection.
6. Intake or vaginal insertion of garlic is also helpful in curing BV, thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
7. Healthy food habits and dietary changes are very important not only in treating BV but also in preventing it from recurring. Increase the consumption of fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, oats, brown rice, flax seed etc.
8. Consumption of sweets and other sugar products should be avoided to prevent the abnormal growth of bad bacteria.
9. Olive leave extracts, which is also available in the form of capsules, are proved to be a good herbal remedy for Bacterial Vaginosis.
10. Consumption of Oregon grape decoction is another effective herbal remedy.
11. Neem, enriched with natural anti-bacterial properties, can be used to treat Bacterial Vaginosis.
Besides killing the bad bacteria, it is essential to improve body’s immune system. Intake of fish oil and folic acid capsules that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids is effective in restoring the immunity. Other natural remedies to restore the immune strength are almonds and green tea, which are rich in anti-oxidants.