A natural approach to treating Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
The balanced, natural ecology of the vagina protects a women from infections. A disruption may be caused by an imbalance of a woman’s overall ecosystem, leading to Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). BV is not an infection, it is an overgrowth of certain strains of usually present bacteria such as Gardnerella vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, and a few other microorganisms which overpower the more beneficial strains including lactobacilli.
Noticeable symptoms can include:
- Thin grey or white discharge (a healthy discharge is white and more viscous)
- A strong, unpleasant (often fishy) odour
- Vaginal itching or irritation
It may also be asymptomatic until bigger problems crop up. The imbalance of the vaginal microbiome may be caused by gut dysbiosis; the right balance is strongly affected by the disruption of the body’s wider microbial system and particularly the gut.
Causes of this can be:
- High sugar diet; Poorly controlled blood sugar
- Alcohol consumption; Smoking
- Exposure to synthetic chemicals and fragrances including but not limited to, tampons, vaginal deodorants, intrauterine devices and douching
- Antibiotic use
Age can cause changes in the vaginal pH as can exposurYou may have attempted to clear your symptoms of BV through prescribed antibiotics and found some initial relief of your discomfort and unpleasant odour. However, most will be disheartened that their symptoms soon return and may require a number of courses of treatment.
The Herbalist’s approach will not only be to clear those symptoms with a herbal prescription but to understand the cause and associated triggers to ensure a long term positive result – with the aim to restore healthy vaginal flora. This will include assessing the indirect but profound effects of diet, stress, and the direct exposure to toxins from tampons, condoms and lubricants – or antibiotics from an unassociated problem.
Ongoing BV causes a greater risk of contracting sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. It is also associated with abnormal Pap smears, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that may cause fertility problems, ectopic pregnancy and endometritis (inflammation in the lining of the uterus). It is especially dangerous for pregnant women, with an increased risk of second-trimester miscarriage or preterm labour
After giving birth, women with BV are at greater risk for postpartum endometritis (inflammation of the womb lining). An accurate diagnosis through your doctor is important and this requires a vaginal examination and painless swab, the correct treatment can then be implemented.
For more information on the treatment of this complaint or to discuss your symptoms prior to making an appointment – call the clinic on 01303 760001 or email Linde Taylor.