Bacterial Vaginosis: Symptoms & Natural Treatments

Bacterial Vaginosis: Symptoms & Natural Treatments

What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a very common vaginal infection. It is twice as prevalent than thrush and it affects between 5% and 15% of women in UK. (Source – NICE CKS). It occurs due to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina disrupting the natural balance between good and bad bacteria in the vagina. 

BV is often mistaken for thrush, probably because thrush is well understood, but this can lead to recurrences of BV which, in turn, can sometimes lead to thrush. 

Causes of bacterial vaginosis 

The cause of bacterial vaginosis is linked directly to a change in the pH of the vagina. A healthy vagina is acidic in nature due to the presence of lactobacilli, the good bacteria that produce lactic acid as a by-product to maintain the acid environment in the vagina. This acid environment prevents other bacteria that reside in the vagina from flourishing. 

A change in the pH of the vagina can cause the harmful bacteria to thrive if these lactobacilli are in short supply. This can occur for several reasons which include:

Frequent douching – the vagina is self-cleaning so over-rinsing the vagina is not necessary and can disturb the vagina’s healthy balance of bacteria.

Antibiotic treatment may disturb the balance of bacteria which can lead to Bacterial Vaginosis.

Multiple or new sex partners increases the risk of Bacterial Vaginosis.

It is important to understand that these are risk factors and that each person may react differently to these risk factors.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis, BV, symptoms vary and are not universal for everyone. With bacterial vaginosis, the vaginal discharge is usually thin, watery, copious in amount, and is greyish white. Often, this BV discharge has a fishy smell and there may also be some itching and discomfort, but this is not that common. 

Bacterial vaginosis or vaginal thrush?

It is easy to confuse BV from vaginal thrush. Thrush is a common yeast infection that can occur anywhere in different parts of the body. Vaginal thrush occurs due to yeast overgrowth known as candida albicans. 

There are some distinct differences of the symptoms of BV and symptoms of vaginal thrush which are: 

The BV discharge often has an unpleasant odour and is usually greyish white, whereas vaginal thrush discharge usually has a cottage cheese like appearance with no odour. 

With thrush you get intense vaginal itching and even a burning sensation, whereas with BV, there is only the occasional discomfort. 

Bacterial vaginosis treatments & natural remedies 

Many women seek quick, natural remedies to treat bacterial vaginosis. Some natural treatments for bacterial vaginosis include tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and garlic supplements however most of these will only provide temporary relief. 

Tea tree oil can be diluted down with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and applied to the affected area but it can sometimes be harsh on the skin leaving it irritated. 

Adding a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar to the bath and soaking for 20-30 minutes may help to ease itching and discomfort. 

Garlic oil is used by some women topically but it can be an irritant and so perhaps it is best to avoid it. 

It is clear that we need to reduce the numbers of the undesirable bacteria that cause the infection and increase the number of lactic acid producing friendly bacteria to restore the microbiome in the vagina.

Balance Activ BV treatments are an effective way to treat bacterial vaginosis. These non-drug BV treatment products have been clinically proven to provide relief from bacterial vaginosis symptoms, and are as effective as antibiotics. 
Balance Activ BV treatments are available in gel or pessaries. Balance Activ BV natural treatment products contain lactic acid and glycogen which help enhance the growth of the good bacteria whilst helping to restore the natural pH of the vagina. 

Balance Activ BV Gel and Balance Activ BV Treatment Pessaries are easy to use, convenient, and should be used for seven days in the evening. If you still experience the symptoms of BV after seven days, there may be other causes and it would best to see your GP.

Preventing recurrences of bacterial vaginosis 

Certain lifestyle changes can certainly help to prevent this common vaginal infection. 

Maintaining proper hygiene is important. Avoid using douches or scented vaginal washes as they can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina. Instead, consider using WeTwo Prescriptives Intimate Wash, a gynaecologist approved intimate wash to cleanse the external genital area which does not disrupt the healthy pH balance.

Avoid tight fitting clothing and opt for breathable cotton underwear which allows better air circulation which may help prevent bacterial growth. 

Eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits and probiotic-rich foods. Taking a probiotic supplement such as Mega Probio will support the healthy growth of beneficial bacteria in the vagina. 

Using Balance Active gel or pessaries twice a week for three months may also help prevent BV recurrences. 

If you still get recurrences, you might also wish to consider Viridian’s Clove & Oregano Complex for a couple of months to try and eradicate BV infection. This supplement contains a blend of herbs with powerful antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. 

These changes do not guarantee you won’t get another BV infection but they may minimise recurrences of vaginal infections. I believe that this is a comprehensive approach to treating BV and to help prevent recurrences. 


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