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How to Prevent BV Infection: 6 Science-Backed Practices

How to Prevent BV Infection: 6 Science-Backed Practices

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 bad bacteria in the vagina. Reports say that 50% of women who experience BV do not develop any symptoms.

However, for some, it can lead to strong fishy odor, thin but copious vaginal discharge, and an itching or burning sensation in the genital area.

Left untreated, BV can result to 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 lukewarm water to clean the outside of the vagina; avoid using strong 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.

What’s the Right Way to Clean the Vagina?

Avoid smoking

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.” (the good bacteria) 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.

how to prevent bv infection

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.

How to Treat Bacterial Vaginosis Naturally

Key Takeaways

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.

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Tracking your period cycle, determines your most fertile days and increases your chance of conceiving or applying for birth control.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Dietary Intake of Selected Nutrients Affects Bacterial Vaginosis in Women
Accessed December 9, 2020

Association between cigarette smoking and the vaginal microbiota: a pilot study
Accessed December 9, 2020

6 contributors to bacterial vaginosis
Accessed December 9, 2020

Bacterial vaginosis
Accessed December 9, 2020

Bacterial vaginosis
Accessed December 9, 2020

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated May 30
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, M.D.