Bacterial Vaginosis: What It Is, How to Recognize It and How to Overcome It and Avoid It for Good
Women, do you wonder about frequent vaginal infections but don’t know how to stop them? Doctors might prescribe antibiotics, but there is a better way!
If you are a woman and care about your health, then you need to know about bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) occurs in women when the healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina is altered, resulting in the overgrowth of pathogenic “bad” bacteria.
According to the CDC, bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age.1 This may surprise you because many women believe that candidiasis, also known as a yeast infection (or vaginal thrush in some regions of the world), tops the list. This is not to say that candida, trichomoniasis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are not a growing concern… but bacterial vaginosis is the most common.
Symptoms of BV include a grayish-white discharge, a fishy odor, pain, itching and burning. Some women, however, have no symptoms. This infection, unlike trichomoniais, Chlamydia and gonorrhea is not contagious.
Until recently the condition was attributed to the Gardnerella vaginalisstrain of bacteria. But researchers have recently changed their opinions and at present believe that a combination of multiple bacteria coming together in a way not fully understood is the cause. The diagnosis and treatment are not as simple as identifying and eradicating a single type of bacteria.
While researchers are confused as to the causes of BV, they have noted that the following risk factors increase your likelihood of developing bacterial vaginosis:2
- Increased number of sexual partners
- New sexual partners
- Use of Intrauterine Devices (for contraception)
Doctors traditionally prescribe antibiotics to treat the overgrowth of bad bacteria, but here at Body Ecology, we suggest trying a more natural approach first and then using antibiotics short term and only if necessary.
Antibiotics should always be combined with a probiotic diet rich in fermented foods. This way you can also focus on restoring the intestinal and vaginal microflora that would be destroyed by the antibiotic, so that reoccurring infections do not plague you in the future. At Body Ecology we are also really into prevention and want women to permanently regain lasting and balanced inner ecology.
Probiotics for Bacterial Vaginosis
Maintaining a healthy balance of good bacteria and yeast (microflora) in your intestines helps prevent and heal bacterial vaginosis. Like your intestines, the vagina has its own ecosystem.
While we talk a lot at Body Ecology about creating an slightly more alkaline blood pH for preventing and healing infections, your vaginal canal has a slightly more acidic pH… just like your colon.
When beneficial microflora (typically in the Lactobacilli family) are plentiful, then the environment created by these beneficial microorganisms is too acidic for pathogenic bacteria to survive. You and your genital tract stay healthy.
If, on the other hand, your intestinal and vaginal microflora get out of balance (often due to antibiotics, birth control pills, and a diet with fast digesting carbs) then you are very likely to suffer from infections.
The best way to stay healthy is to encourage the growth of good microflora in your body by eating fermented foods and drinks that are rich in probiotics. Probiotics (meaning “for life”) are the good microflora that boost your immunity, help your body keep the growth of pathogens in check, and reduce your likelihood of infection.3
Dong Quai: Healing Herb for Women
The Body Ecology system for health and healing stresses the importance of probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks as the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle for men, women and children.
Women, however, often have different health concerns than men and growing kids.
Besides the obvious physical differences, women also experience a variety of hormone shifts on a regular basis and these too can alter the pH of the vagina.
Dong quai is an herb used in ancient Chinese remedies to address the special needs of women. Dong quai can help with infertility, hot flashes and menstrual pain. It also promotes the proper balance of hormones and a regular menstrual cycle.
While dong quai is prized for women’s health, it has been used historically for men and women to cleanse the blood, fight signs of infection and encourage digestion.
Since fermented foods and drinks have so many benefits for healing infections and boosting immunity, we realized that fermenting dong quai could be a major step forward in natural health and hormone balance for women.
Our fermented Dong Quai beverage tastes great and is an exclusive body balancing tonic that also features four kinds of beneficial bacteria including:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus delbreukii
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Packed with probiotics – and great-tasting and economical as well – Dong Quai balances your hormones and populates your body with good bacteria and yeast
And because it’s fermented, it contains plenty of good bacteria and yeast to populate your gut and genital tract, making you less prone to infections of all kinds, including bacterial vaginosis.
Balanced Health from the Inside Out
Fermented foods and drinks like Dong Quai can work together to help you establish a balanced inner ecosystem, both in your intestines and in your genital tract.
As you populate your body with beneficial bacteria, you’ll experience renewed health and greater vitality, making infection a thing of the past.
To conclude, please note this Special Tip for Women in a Sexual Relationship with a Man. Since you now know that the disruption of normal microflora occurs when the vaginal pH become too high (which means too alkaline), and an uncomfortable infection can quickly manifest, some creative feminine hygiene can solve the problem.
Sugars in your diet are fuels for the fire, so avoid sugar (learn more about healthy no-calorie sweeteners like Lakanto instead.)
You also need to know that male sperm is alkaline, and if left in the birth canal can alter the vaginal environment. Adding a cup or two of apple cider vinegar to a hot tub of water and rinsing yourself out will help prevent and infection. Don’t do this if you want to conceive a baby, however.
- Bacterial Vaginosis, CDC Fact Sheet. CDC.gov. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm
- Curran, MD, Diana, Gardnerella Vaginalis, EMedicine.com, 1 Aug 2006. http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic841.htm
Ross RA, Lee ML, Onderdonk AB. Effect of Candida albicans infection and clotrimazole treatment on vaginal microflora in an in vitro. Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Dec;86(6):925-30. [abstract]
- Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics, Health.Harvard.edu.