Taking Care of Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is considered to be one of the most common causes of vaginal infections and although it can potentially affect women of all ages, it tends to be most common in women of childbearing age.
It is widely believed that one of the major causes of bacterial vaginosis is an imbalance of the natural bacteria which live in the vagina; although bacterial vaginosis may occasionally disappear on its own, it can lead to other, more serious health risks if left untreated.
Common Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
The overgrowth of bacteria in bacterial vaginosis can cause an increase in vaginal discharge, a thin vaginal discharge which is white or gray in color, a vaginal discharge which has a strong, fishy or unpleasant musky odor, or itching, burning or pain in your genital area. Be aware, however that nearly 50% of women with bacterial vaginosis do not notice any particular symptoms, therefore a yearly gynecological exam to check for the disease is crucial.
What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
In a "normal" vagina there is a greater balance of "good" bacteria, resulting in a natural flora function of the vagina. These bacteria are called lactobacilli, and are the same type found in yogurt. While there are also bad bacteria present in the vagina, the good bacteria usually keeps them in check, however when bacterial vaginosis occurs the bad bacteria overtake the naturally good.
Bacterial vaginosis is listed as a sexually transmitted disease by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although the actual cause of the disease is not known. Women who have multiple sex partners may be at a higher risk of recurrent bacterial vaginosis, and those who are currently with a new sex partner could also be at a higher risk.
How Will Your Doctor Treat Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable condition, and, if left untreated, may lead to PID and other serious complications. Bacterial vaginosis can be especially dangerous for pregnant women because the infection can travel up into the uterus, causing premature delivery or low birth weight.
If you suffer from bacterial vaginosis your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic, taken either orally or vaginally, such as Ampicillin, Ceftriaxone, Clindamycin, Tertracycline or Metronidazole. Making sure you maintain regular exercise and a healthy diet can also help your symptoms improve.
Natural Treatments for Bacterial Vaginosis
Homeopathic treatments shown to be effective in treating bacterial vaginosis include inserting plain yogurt containing lactobacillus directly into your vagina with a plastic applicator, which may help rebalance the good and bad bacteria. Taking acidophilus capsules or suppositories may also work to rebalance the good and bad bacteria in your vagina.
Some women have had good results from using tea tree oil suppositories or douches-tea tree oil is believed to have certain antifungal properties which attack the bad bacteria in your vagina (never apply tea tree oil directly to the sensitive vaginal lining as it can cause an allergic reaction). Douching with diluted grapefruit seed extract, or with a mixture of ¼ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed with two cups of water may also be beneficial in restoring the normal bacterial flora, and helping your symptoms of bacterial vaginosis.