BV has a high recurrence rate. But it can be stopped. How can you stop bacterial vaginosis from recurring? Your vaginal microbiome health may hold the clues to prevent recurrent bacterial vaginosis.
Understanding Bacterial Vaginosis
BV is the most common vaginal infection to affect women of reproductive age, caused by the imbalance of the vaginal microbiome (vaginal dysbiosis). An abundance of the Lactobacilli bacteria strain characterizes a healthy vaginal microbiome. They produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which helps keep the vagina at a slightly acidic pH. The acidic environment helps keep harmful bacteria at bay and protects you from STIs and infections like BV.
What is the main cause of BV?
When the helpful Lactobacilli decrease, the pH gets disturbed. This causes harmful bacteria like Gardnerella vaginalis (the main culprit behind BV) to thrive.
How can you get bacterial vaginosis?
Different factors increase your risk of getting bacterial vaginosis. Some of them are explained below.
Factors that increase the risk of BV include:
- Multiple sex partners
- Unprotected sex
- Sharing of sex toys
- Stress or pregnancy-related hormonal imbalances
- Using feminine products with harsh chemicals
What are the symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis?
About 50 to 75% of women with BV do not show symptoms. They may recognize the infection on routine health examinations. This is another reason you should not ignore regular reproductive health check-ups.
Symptoms, when they occur, may include:
- Grayish white or white discharge with a foul or fishy smell.
- Itchy or sore vagina, which can sometimes be accompanied by swelling.
- Burning sensation during urination.
- Rare symptoms include vaginal bleeding and pain during sex.
You must seek immediate medical attention if you suffer from any of the above symptoms. Untreated BV can lead to:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Increased risks for STIs such as HIV
- Preterm labor in pregnant women
What can you do to stop Bacterial Vaginosis from recurring?
BV is treated with a course of antibiotics. However, BV is notorious for returning in a few months for most women. You must inform your doctor of any subsequent episodes of symptoms and adhere to the treatment plan.
There are a few things that you can do to help prevent Bacterial Vaginosis recurrence or reduce the risks of reinfections considerably.
Top 6 Tips to Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis from Recurring
- Follow safe sexual practices
- Observe vaginal and general hygiene
- Boric acid suppositories
- Lifestyle changes
- Manage stress
- Take probiotics
Follow safe sexual practices
- Semen is of alkaline pH, and exposure to it can cause a disturbance in the vaginal pH. This is one of the major reasons why BV is recurrent in women of childbearing age. It is rarely seen in women who are not sexually active. Using condoms can prevent exposure to semen.
- If your partner belongs to the same sex, getting her checked for BV and treatment done in case of BV infection is advisable.
- Avoid sharing sex toys.
- Oral sex can also cause BV, as saliva contains bacteria that can cause bacterial overgrowth in the vaginal microbiome.
Observe vaginal and general hygiene
- Your vagina is capable of self-cleaning. Washing with warm water is sufficient at most times. Avoid soaps and wipes with strong perfumes and chemicals.
- Wipe from front to back after a visit to the washroom.
- Avoid douching completely. Contrary to popular belief, it harms your vaginal health by disrupting the vaginal microbiome.
- Change pads and tampons frequently.
- Keep your intimate area dry and sweat-free. In warmer weather, you can change undergarments whenever you feel you are getting sweaty and hot.
- Wear undergarments of natural, hypoallergenic, and breathable fabrics like cotton. Avoid wearing undergarments while going to sleep.
- Avoid wearing too tight and uncomfortable outfits if you are prone to recurrent BV. These can cause you to sweat more.
Boric acid suppositories
Boric acid suppositories have been shown to help in yeast and bacterial infections. You can discuss this with your doctor if you want to take this route.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol if you suffer from recurrent BV.
- Ensure you do some form of exercise.
- Eat a balanced diet and keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid chlorinated pools or swimming in unclean waters.
Stress can cause hormonal imbalances, affecting your general and vaginal health. While stress cannot be prevented entirely, find ways to manage stress effectively, like meditation, yoga, etc.
Probiotic supplementation, especially when administered vaginally, is highly effective in keeping harmful bacteria away. In a recent study, women suffering from BV were administered Lactobacilli crispatus after a course of antibiotics. The results showed a significant reduction in BV recurrence with the replenishing of Lactobacilli bacteria.
Free yourself from BV for good!
It is possible to stop BV from coming back! VagiBiom, developed by Biom Pharmaceutical, is helping countless women with a science-backed patented formulation containing Lactobacillus crispatus & Lactobacillus gasseri. Learn more about how our patented products can help you get freedom from BV and other feminine conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I determine if I have recurrent bacterial vaginosis?
Recurrent bacterial vaginosis (BV) often presents symptoms like unusual discharge, unpleasant odor, or irritation. Medical consultation and lab tests can confirm the recurrence and determine the appropriate course of treatment.
What happens if bacterial vaginosis is left untreated?
If left untreated, bacterial vaginosis may increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections and cause complications during pregnancy. It’s important to seek medical attention to prevent any potential health issues.
Can we prevent recurring BV without medication?
Maintaining optimal vaginal pH and hygiene, along with a balanced diet and probiotic supplementation, can help prevent recurring BV. However, these strategies should complement, not replace, medical advice.
Are there any natural remedies or alternative treatments to prevent BV recurrence?
Natural remedies such as probiotics, vitamin-rich diets, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can aid in preventing BV recurrence. However, these are not standalone solutions and should be pursued in consultation with healthcare professionals.