Will boric acid, tea tree oil or yogurt cure your Bacterial Vaginosis? These home bacterial Vaginosis remedies are cheap, accessible and they do not require a trip to the doctors office therefore it make sense why you would want to explore one of these agents for relief. But do they work ? Read on to find out.
What is BV?
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is caused by the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina. To get rid of BV, you’ll have to promote the growth of more good bacteria and to kill or slow down the growth of bad bacteria.
Sounds pretty easy right? Nothing a little soap and water can’t fix.
If that’s what you thought then you are wrong. Using soap and water as your primary treatment method for BV may worsen your condition since it will kill the good bacteria and can also cause microtrauma to your delicate vaginal skin.
If that’s shocking to you, then there’s a chance you may be completely misinformed about BV treatment and you could very well be the one making your condition worse. Don’t you wonder what else you may have gotten wrong about BV?
That’s what we’re here to do, to separate fact from fiction and educate you on how you can manage your symptoms and clear up your infection in as little time as possible.
Here are the answers to all your questions about the treatment of BV.
How is BV diagnosed?
BV has a few physical signs that can give you a good indication of whether you have BV or not. These include:
These symptoms are not unique to BV, and in some cases, there are little to no physical signs or symptoms. In such a case, the gynecologist will do a vaginal examination and then send off samples of your discharge to the lab before making a diagnosis .
This discharge is tested for acidity level and pH. If this is above 4.5 then there’s a strong chance you may be diagnosed with BV. The cells are also be tested for bacteria conducive to bacterial infection.
If these tests come back positive, your doctor will inform you about your treatment options.
How is BV normally treated?
Since BV is a bacterial infection, it is normally treated with antibiotics such as clindamycin and metronidazole since they kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. These can come in gel, cream or pill form. The gels and creams are inserted into the vagina, or placed at the entrance while the pills are swallowed as prescribed by the doctor.
The doctor will indicate how long the antibiotics should be used for, sometimes for a day or up to a week, depending on how mild or severe the infection is.
It is important to follow these instructions strictly. While the symptoms may clear up before the specified length of treatment, stopping early can promote the development of resistant strains of bacteria which can contribute to aggravated symptoms of recurrent infections.
Are antibiotics effective?
Antibiotics are the most effective treatment method for BV.
In one study conducted on women with BV, clindamycin was found to reduce and eliminate symptoms of BV in 88% of women after a 1-2 week treatment period. Other studies suggest that metronidazole is as effective as clindamycin in curing symptoms of BV for over 90% of women when either antibiotic was used.
What are the side effects of using antibiotics?
All forms of medication have side effects and antibiotics are no different.
Antibiotics work to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, but it doesn’t discriminate or distinguish bad bacteria from good bacteria. So, while it can kill the bad bacteria, it also can kill good bacteria whose job is to maintain the balance in the vagina.
When this happens, it puts you at risk of another type of infection called a yeast infection. Yeast infections happen when there is an overgrowth of the fungus Candida in the vagina which happens when good bacteria count is low. Roughly 10% of women who use clindamycin or metronidazole will experience a yeast infection which is characterized by thick, white discharge, soreness, rash, and vaginal itching. This type of infection can be treated with medication, and it is not unusual for doctors to prescribe a three-in-one antifungal, antimicrobial and antibiotic cream to prevent a recurrence.
Persons who use gels or tablets can experience a loss of appetite, burning or stinging sensation where the gel/cream is applied, frequent urination, acne, vomiting, nausea and insomnia
Other less common side effects include seizures and burning, tingling, pain or numbness of the hands or feet. Metronidazolehas been known to leave a metallic taste in the mouth after it is swallowed.
Can I get rid of BV without antibiotics?
The only way to completely get rid of BV is with antibiotics.
In some mild cases, BV clears up on its own without any form of treatment or antibiotics. This is usually the case in women who show no symptoms but it is very likely to return with symptoms next time
If you have symptoms of BV that suddenly go away, don’t be surprised if it comes back even worse than before. This may be because it never actually cleared up in the first place and the bad bacteria have had time to flourish inside the vagina.
Are there over–the–counter medications for BV?
There are several over-the-counter medications that claim to be able to treat BV and while they can help to get rid of some of the symptoms, many are not effective . Prescription medication is much stronger and contains the right ingredients to help get rid of symptoms and actually kill bad bacteria faster.
Does hydrogen peroxide really work for BV?
Using hydrogen peroxide to cure BV is a common home remedy that does more harm than good, so don’t believe the hype.
If you’ve never heard of this treatment method before, that’s great, because it’s a bad idea anyway. In one study , 58 women used 30mm of hydrogen peroxide to douche their vagina for 7 days. At the end of the study, 89% of women had eliminated their symptoms and touted hydrogen peroxide as a cheap alternative to prescription medication.
If you’ve ever had a cut and had hydrogen peroxide poured over it as a child, you’ll know that it hurts. Imagine doing that to your vagina, especially if you had been scratching the vulva and there is microtrauma. Douching with hydrogen peroxide, or any form of douching whatsoever can actually help the infection to spread as it can flush the bacteria up the cervix and help it spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries which will increase the chances of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Plus, the studies conducted on this type of treatment are methodically flawed and there simply isn’t enough evidence to back it up as an alternative treatment.
What are some natural BV remedies?
The symptoms of BV can be addressed and prevented with natural remedies that you can find at home or local supermarket. These include:
When we say yogurt, we don’t mean you should smear it on a tampon and insert it into your vagina as many women do for yeast infections.
The best way to use yogurt to promote vaginal health is by ingesting a serving daily to introduce good bacteria into the body which can help to reduce symptoms of BV and to prevent it and other vaginal infections.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast which promote good gut health, along with vaginal health. They are found in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha pickles, and certain cheeses, however, they may be purchased in supplement form.
These help to introduce good bacteria in the vagina which can help with existing vaginal infections and can prevent a recurrence.
Garlic has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties which make it one of nature’s best medicines. Consuming garlic not only keeps the immune system strong but also promotes a balanced vaginal environment which helps to prevent and stop infections from worsening.
Inserting boric acid capsules into the vagina can help to treat both BV and yeast infections and has been used for years by housewives. Boric acid is safe to use vaginally but is toxic when consumed since it is also used for pest control and removing noxious odors from fridges so be sure to keep it away from pets and children.
Avoiding feminine hygiene products
Avoid anything that claims to be for feminine hygiene. The truth is your vagina doesn’t need them. They’re made with fragrances to make you smell “clean” and “fresh” but a vagina is supposed to smell like a vagina and not a rose. This can irritate and can kill good bacteria. It can also worsen your symptoms.
Douching can help the infection to spread and make your symptoms even worse by removing good bacteria, especially when the liquid used is soapy water or some form of antiseptic.
Can I cure BV in one day?
If you can’t cure the flu in a single day, don’t expect to cure BV in one day.
Sure, you can buy medication to suppress or soothe the symptoms of the flu, but the virus is still there for a few weeks. The same thing happens with BV and its medication. The smell may disappear, and so may the abnormal discharge, but the infection can still be there. This is why you are advised to take the full course of antibiotics and not stop just because the symptoms seem to have disappeared.
If you want to get rid of BV completely, be patient and follow your doctor’s instructions.
I still have more questions
If you have more questions about BV, check out our article on FAQs about BV . If you can’t find an answer there or require more information, don’t hesitate to contact your gynecologist. This way, you can prevent the spread of your infection and get on with your life.