While bacterial vaginosis (BV) doesn’t generally cause any serious health risks, preventing it is still crucial. What are the best practices to prevent BV infection?
How to prevent BV infection
Bacterial vaginosis happens when there’s an overgrowth of a certain kind of bacteria in the vagina. Reports say that 50% of women who experience BV do not develop any symptoms.
Left untreated, BV can also result in complications like pelvic inflammatory disease, increased STI risk, and increased preterm birth and miscarriage risk for pregnant women.
The good news is, you can take simple steps to prevent the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis.
Clean your genital area properly
Anything that disrupts the microbial balance in the vagina can lead to BV infection.
To prevent bacterial overgrowth and reduce your risk of bacterial vaginosis, be sure to clean your genital area properly:
- Use only warm water to clean the outside of the vagina; avoid using feminine wash, especially the scented kind.
- Do not douche and refrain from using perfumed products like soap, sanitary pads, and tampons. According to experts, these feminine care products can irritate the vagina and promote bacterial overgrowth.
- Avoid bubble baths; instead, opt for a shower.
Several reports pointed out that smoking puts you at risk of BV.
One study revealed that smokers have a “lower proportion of vaginal Lactobacillus spp.” than non-smokers. The same study also mentioned that smoking cessation should be looked into as an “adjunct to reducing recurring BV.”
The process of smoking cessation is not easy, but your doctor can help you quit the habit. You can also head over to this article to learn more about effective ways to stop smoking.
Keep your feminine area cool and dry
According to experts, a significant lack of airflow in the genital area, together with sweating, can make the skin more vulnerable to irritation and infection.
That’s why it’s essential to keep the feminine area cool and dry. You can do this by:
- Wearing loose undergarments and pants
- Wearing breathable cotton underwear instead of nylon ones.
- Changing out of your sweaty clothes after working out.
- Changing out of your swimwear after swimming
Change your birth control method
What’s your method of birth control? If you’re at risk of developing bacterial vaginosis and you’re using an intrauterine device (IUD), you might want to consider changing it.
According to reports, women who use IUD have a higher BV infection risk. For this reason, talk to your doctor about a birth control alternative.
Practice safe sex
Although BV is not a sexually transmitted infection, scientists seem to believe that there’s a connection between intercourse and BV.
For one, they discovered that bacterial vaginosis is more common in women who are sexually active, have a new sexual partner, or multiple sexual partners.
Moreover, unsafe sex practices, such as failure to wear a condom, further increase the risk.
To prevent BV infection, don’t forget to practice safe sex by:
- Wearing condoms—reports say that condoms reduce the risk of BV infection.
- Consider using a dental dam—a piece of latex placed over the vagina before oral sex.
- Limiting the number of your sexual partners
- Cleaning your sex toys thoroughly—unclean sex toys can reintroduce bacteria and trigger an overgrowth. Another option is for you to cover sex toys with a condom.
Have a healthy diet
Finally, to prevent BV infection, it helps to watch what you eat. Nutrition plays a vital role in ensuring that the bacterial balance in our body is maintained.
Additionally, some studies indicate that increased fat intake can heighten BV risk; in contrast, the consumption of folate, calcium, and vitamin A reduces the risk of getting bacterial vaginosis.
To prevent BV infection, it’s crucial to maintain the microbial balance of the feminine area. Be sure to clean the vagina properly, rethink your birth control method, and practice safe sex. Additionally, consider quitting smoking and maintain a balanced diet.
Learn more about Bacterial Vaginosis here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.