Home Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is a mild bacterial infection of the vagina. BV is a sexually transmitted disease or STD, but it can be spread through other means. Since it is a mild infection, vaginosis is more of a nuisance than a problem.
The common medical treatment for it is antibiotics and antibiotic cream. Doctors usually use fairly powerful antibiotics such as metronidazole (sold as Flagyl) and clindamycin (marketed as Cleocin). These can be administered in either pill or cream form. Obviously, taking such powerful drugs for a minor ailment may not be a good idea.
Fortunately, there are a number of effective home remedies for bacterial vaginosis out there. In fact, the disease is so mild that it sometimes goes away on its own. It is possible to effectively treat this problem yourself with very basic home remedies. Diet and your overall health also play a role.
Something to keep in mind is that BV can be a sign of more serious problems. It can also cause real problems in pregnant women including miscarriage. If home remedies do no work, you should see a health care practitioner immediately. There are some other treatments available for it.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis
BV is more of an imbalance than an infection. This can be hard to believe, but the vagina is crawling with all sorts of bacteria both good and bad. Vaginosis occurs when the bacteria get imbalanced. The bad bacteria start outnumbering the good and creating problems.
Part of the reason why women get BV when they get a new sex partner is that is an imbalance. Women with multiple sex partners and girls who have just entered a new relationship will be more likely to get it. In many cases, it will go away on its own after a few days.
In most cases, the body’s immune system will correct this imbalance. But if you have a weakened or imbalanced immune system, that may not happen. Many people including women have weakened immune systems these days. Poor diet, lack of exercise, vitamin deficiencies, infections, pollution, chemicals, stress and many other problems can weaken your immune system.
Oftentimes, problems result from bacteria vaginosis because a weakened immune system makes a minor problem into a serious one. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is eat right, get plenty of sleep, plenty of exercise and reduce stress.
A great way to do this is with a raw food diet such as Yuri Elkaim’s Eating for Energy. Exercising every day helps you reduce stress and strengthens the immune system. Eating foods rich in certain vitamins including D & E can help as well. Avoiding processed foods that can damage the immune system and chemical pollution which also weakens the immune system can help you to avoid imbalances.
The most common sign of BV is smelly vaginal discharge. The discharge can also turn yellow or white. There may also be a fishy smell. Many women report this gets worse after having sex. Some other symptoms include discomfort, itching or pain in the vagina. Pain while going to the bathroom and bleeding are other common symptoms.
How BV Spreads
Bacterial vaginosis can spread through sex or through bad sanitation. It is possible to catch this disease from a public toilet or poorly cleaned clothing. So there are some precautions you can take to keep yourself from catching it. These include:
- Not having more than one sex partner and using condoms during sex.
- Washing your underwear with bleach
- Making sure the water temperature in your washing machine is set at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This should kill the bacteria.
- Washing your bathroom thoroughly with a disinfectant such as bleach every week.
- Trying to avoid using public toilets especially poorly cleaned ones.
- Making sure you bath after sex and bath every day.
- Keeping yourself dry can help; moisture does spread BV.
These precautions won’t entirely prevent the disease, but they can prevent the spread. Being careful and clean will protect you from most diseases and make you feel better.
When to Treat Bacterial Vaginosis
If you think you have BV, it is a good idea to wait a few days to see if it goes away. During that period, it is a good idea to take a nice hot bath every day. A good soak in the tub followed by drying should help. If you take showers, try installing a flexible showerhead, so you can wash your vagina directly.
If the baths don’t work, you should start trying traditional home remedies. There are several traditional herbal remedies that are highly effective treatments for bacterial vaginosis.
Some of these you may already have in your home. Others you can order online or get from health food stores. These cures treat both the disease itself and its symptoms.
- Margosa leaves are a highly effective treatment for skin diseases including bacterial vaginosis. The margosa is an evergreen tree. Its leaves or needles can be made into margosa or neem oil. The leaves themselves can be processed into a liniment or salve that is applied directly to the vagina. An ointment made from margosa can be applied directly to the vagina. You can order neem oil and margosa medicines online.
- Calendula or pot marigold flowers can relieve inflammation. It can be applied directly or made into a tea. Dampen a cloth with the tea and rub it on the vagina. Tampons can also be soaked in the tea. Calendula can be used as a douche. To make the douche, boil water and add 12 tablespoons of calendula and steep. You can soak a tea bag in the mixture and use it like a tampon.
- Tea tree oil has long been used to treat a wide variety of infections. The oil is made from the leaves of the tea tree which is found in Australia. The oil can be rubbed directly into the vagina or mixed with a douche. This oil is a powerful antibiotic that can also relieve yeast infections. You should be able to find a large assortment of tea tree oil products for sale online. A two ounce bottle of the oil should cost around $6.
- Black walnut is a supplement made from nuts of a tree known for its antiseptic and anti-parasitic properties. It has traditionally been used as a treatment for fungal infections, but it can be effective against BV. Something to remember is that BV could be accompanied by a yeast infection. Like other remedies, it can be applied directly to the vagina. Tinctures of black walnut that can be used for this purpose are available online.
- Echinacea is a Native American herb that is widely used for a variety of medicinal purposes. Laboratory studies have proven that this supplement can strengthen and enhance the immune system. So taking an Echinacea supplement is an excellent idea if you have BV. Professional herbalists recommend it as a treatment for urinary tract infections such as vaginosis. You can order supplements and tinctures online. This herb also relieves inflammation which is one of the symptoms of the condition. Tinctures are the best means of applying it.
- Goldenseal is a traditional American or Canadian remedy that was used by both Native Americans and the Pioneers. It is often combined with Echinacea and can be used in bacterial vaginosis tinctures. Goldenseal contains a compound called berberine that has been shown to kill many kinds of bacteria in laboratory experiments. Applying it or a tincture made from it to the vagina can kill the infection. It may also activate white blood cells which are the body’s natural infection fighters. It could also strengthen the immune system. A woman with BV might take a goldenseal supplement to strengthen her immune system. This supplement is sometimes marketed as Indian Paint and ground raspberry.
- Garlic, even though it is hard to believe, is one of the most powerful and effective natural antiseptic and antibiotic products available. Sticking a clove of garlic in the vagina is a traditional remedy for yeast infections and for vaginosis. Another remedy is to make a garlic tincture or rub. Ground or minced garlic can easily be mixed with tea tree oil to create a powerful antibiotic. This can be applied with a cloth. Eating cloves of garlic can boost the immune system and kill infections as well.
Cleansing and Detoxification
Cleansing and detoxification are highly effective treatments for minor infections such as bacterial vaginosis. These work well because they can flush the infection right out of your system.
The first thing to do is to drink lots of water – several large glasses or two or three quarts a day. This is one of the fastest ways to flush out the system completely. You should also drink lots of juices especially citrus juices because they contain lots of vitamin C which is a proven infection fighter. Try drinking fresh squeezed or homemade juices because many store-bought juices contain lots of sugar and other bad stuff.
A good way to get both water and vitamin C is to simply mix a couple of ounces of fresh squeezed lemon, grapefruit, orange or lime juice into your water. Lemon or lime juice is best for this because it contains the most vitamin C. Try bringing this with you in your water bottle at work and elsewhere.
Something else you could try is to add an ounce of organic apple cider vinegar to your water. Apple cider vinegar can flush out your system and make your cleansing more efficient. Detox soups can also help you get plenty of water and minerals
Canadian holistic health expert and fitness guru Yuri Elkaim has designed an excellent detoxification diet anybody can use. Total Wellness Cleanse is designed to flush out your system in just twenty days. It contains lots of really great detox recipes as well as other tips.
Some other BV detoxification foods include cranberry juice which also flushes out the system. Make sure you get pure organic cranberry juice; most stores and over-the-counter brands contain apple juice and lots of sugar.
BV Diet and Lifestyle
Your diet can definitely affect diseases like bacterial vaganosis. It can often make them worse by weakening your immune system and your ability to fight the bacteria off.
Eating a lot of food that act as natural antibiotics such as garlic, reishi mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cayenne and other red peppers can help. Simply eating a couple of cloves of garlic or a plate of the mushrooms a day can strengthen your immune system. So can getting more of the right kind of protein. A good way to do this is to take fermented cod liver oil which contains a powerful dose of nutrients. There are now tasty fermented cod liver supplements available.
Eating certain foods will help you fight off bacterial vaginosis. They include:
- Flaxseed and other natural oils including olive oil
- Fermented cod liver oil
- Oily fish such as salmon and tuna
- Whole grains
- Fruit particularly citrus fruit
- Vegetables particularly dark leafy ones like spinach and kale
There are also some foods that can make the problem worse. Sugar in particular will make it really bad so avoid that. One problem is that sugar upsets the hormonal balance which weakens the immune system. Caffeine, alcohol and foods that have been fermented can also aggravate the problem.
Foods to avoid while infected with BV:
- Soft drinks
- Sugary cereals
- Baked goods
- Store-bought fruit juices
- Ice cream
- Energy drinks
- Processed foods
- High carbohydrate foods
Eliminating these foods from your diet will help your body fight off bacterial vaginosis. So can switching to a plant based raw food diet such as Yuri Elkaim’s Eating for Energy.
Something else that will make bacterial vaginosis worse is tobacco. That means you should quit smoking.
Get at least eight hours of optimal sleep every day because the immune system needs plenty of rest to function properly. Try sleeping in the dark and taking a bath right before bedtime to make it easier to get to sleep.
Exercising for 15 minutes every day can also help. Exercise promotes the production of human growth hormone which gives the body the strength it needs to fight off disease. Short bursts of activity might be better than long workouts.
A Home Remedy that Does Not Work
Something your mother may have been wrong about is douches. Regular douching does not get rid of bacterial vaginosis and it may actually make the condition worse. It does that by aggravating the bacteria and making the imbalance worse. Only use a douche specially formulated using hydrogen peroxide or boric acid to treat your BV, both of which can be remarkably effective. Otherwise, avoid douching altogether.
When All Else Fails
If bacterial vaginosis does not go away after using home remedies and changing your lifestyle, you should definitely seek professional help. A good idea is to seek out a natural medicine practitioner such as an herbalist, a naturopathic physician or a homeopathic doctor. Such experts are often much more experienced at treating bacterial infections than conventional medical doctors. They will be able to show you how to cure your BV without ineffective (and potentially dangerous) antibiotic treatments.