Bacterial vaginosis results from an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina that disrupts its natural balance. Some cases of bacterial vaginosis resolve on their own without medication, but many women would also like to treat it naturally.
Since BV is a bacterial infection, the doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics, such as clindamycin or metronidazole. They may come in pills, taken orally, as well as in cream or gel form.
It’s important to remember that once you develop the symptoms, you must seek medical help. Alongside your medical treatment, you can also consider the following home remedies.
Add Probiotics to Your Diet
If you’re looking for a generally safe way to potentially treat bacterial vaginosis naturally, consider adding probiotics to your diet.
You see, our body has a balance of both good and bad bacteria. When you have bacterial vaginosis – or any other bacterial infection – you have more bad bacteria than good ones, essentially overthrowing the balance.
For this reason, taking probiotics may be beneficial because it adds good bacteria to the body. Most store-bought probiotic products contain either Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, but bacterial vaginosis management often focuses more on Lactobacillus colonization therapy. The idea is to “re-establish” the balance of good and bad bacteria in the vaginal environment.
Some of the most common sources of probiotics are:
- Probiotic milk drinks
Perhaps, the safest way to incorporate probiotics in your diet is through the addition of food sources such as those mentioned above. Even though research already shows some benefits to probiotic therapy, please remember that we still need more studies to confirm its effectiveness against BV.
Finally, keep in mind that not all probiotic products are the same, so it’s still best to talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking one as a supplement.
Avoid Irritation of the Vagina
Another way to treat bacterial vaginosis naturally is through ensuring that the vagina is not irritated.
Irritation often worsens infection; so many experts suggest the following:
- Use warm water when washing your genital area. Many doctors emphasize that there’s no need to use soap, even mild brands. This is because they, too, may irritate the vagina. And the vagina can naturally clean itself.
- Consider your other feminine care products. If you feel uncomfortable with just using warm water when washing, carefully consider your products. As much as possible, avoid scented soaps, sanitary napkins, and tampons.
- Switch to cotton underwear. Some underwear fabric like spandex is not breathable. This might make the vagina warm and damp. When this happens, it may serve as the breeding ground for bacteria. Switch to cotton underwear as they are breathable and absorb moisture better.
If you can, please also consider wearing loose, comfortable pants. This is because tight pants tend to irritate the genital area and they encourage a warmer environment for bacteria to grow.
Practice Good Hygiene
To prevent the infection from getting worse, you must practice good hygiene. But it doesn’t mean washing the vagina as frequently as you wish to keep it “clean and bacteria-free.”
To treat bacterial vaginosis naturally, avoid resorting to over-washing. Not only do you risk overthrowing your vaginal balance, but you could also irritate it further, especially if you are using harsh products.
For good hygiene, try doing the following:
- After using the bathroom, wipe from front to back. This means you need to wipe starting from your vagina, down to your anus. It’s very important because improper wiping may spread the infection from the anus to the vulva.
- Change your tampons and pads frequently. Even if the product says you can stay leak-free for hours, try to change every 3 to 4 hours, especially if you have a heavy flow.
- Keep your genital area dry. After exercising or swimming, be sure to change out of your sweaty underwear and clothes. This will prevent further bacterial growth.
Finally, do not douche, as it can further disrupt the balance between good and bad bacteria in your vagina.
Have a Well-Balanced Diet
To treat bacterial vaginosis naturally, you must also consider your diet.
According to experts, any change in the gastrointestinal tract may affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in the body. For this reason, make sure that you are eating nutritious foods.
Additionally, a poor diet may reduce your body’s ability to fight off the infection. It could also slow down your recovery.
Practice Safe Sex
Semen affects your vagina’s pH level and might increase the rate of infection.
According to reports, semen has a pH level of 7.1 to 8, which is considerably higher than the vagina’s 3.8 to 4.5 pH level.
For this reason, you might want to consider abstaining from sex while you have BV.
The other safe sex practices you could follow are:
- Limiting the number of sexual partners.
- Having your male partner use a latex condom, especially it is your first time being intimate with them.
- Abstaining from sexual intercourse, in order to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Many women find it embarrassing to seek medical attention when they experience the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. For this reason, they resort to treating the condition using natural methods, such as:
- Garlic supplements
- Borax suppository
- Diluted tea tree oils
- Hydrogen peroxide
Please keep in mind that these remedies are not yet “well-studied,” so experts do not recommend them as in-home BV management. The best course of action remains to be consulting a doctor for a more personalized, reliable treatment.
If you want to treat bacterial vaginosis naturally, remember to focus on your diet, preventing irritation, and practicing safe sex at all times.
Learn more about women’s health, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.