What is Bacterial Vaginosis? BV Bacterial Vaginosis is often included in the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) category, along with Yeast Infections & Bladder Infections even though it is simply a pH imbalance. From a single occurrence to chronic, they are often painful, smell fishy, so not openly discussed.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Infections are common. BV is probably the most embarrassing of the pH imbalance vaginal infections because it has an unpleasant odor ”fishy” smell. BV is simply an imbalance of your vaginal pH. In this case, your vagina is not acidic enough. It sounds scary, and the first time will probably freak you out, but it’s very common and usually easy to treat.
The following information may be of more interest to those suffering from recurring or chronic BV:
If this is: A first occurrence, you suspect it could be any other STI, are Pregnant, or following Childbirth – Please See Your Doctor. BV left untreated can increase your risk of a serious BV infection, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Miscarriage and Premature labor.
Symptoms of BV
- “Fishy” Unpleasant Odor
- Thin Watery Discharge (white or grey)
- Smells Worse After Sex
- Pain, Itching or Burning in and around the vagina
- Burning Sensation when you Pee (could also be a bladder infection or both)
Likely Causes of BV
- Getting Your Period: Changing tampons & pads or using a menstruation cup – all are an opportunity to alter your pH.
- Hormonal Changes / Menopause: Yep lucky us! If it wasn’t bad enough that some of us suffer from random crazy hot flashes, vaginal dryness & flash feelings of rage, we have to worry about infections too 🙄
- Antibiotics: Some women say this triggers a Yeast or BV Infection or both – every single time. “I just get prescriptions for everything now” said one ” I was getting them so often at one point my Doctor became very lenient with my use of natural remedies in conjunction with my prescriptions, but still likes me to have back-up”
- Some Birth Control: You may just need to try a few different approaches to find the one that works best for your body. Talk to your Doctor if your birth control method is triggering infections.
- Antihistamines: Yes your issue could be your allergy meds! Antihistamines dry up your mucus membranes, and your vagina is a mucus membrane. Your allergy medication may be drying up your vagina and impairing its ability to self-clean & self-lubricate.
- Semen: Yes some women get BV just from having sex without a condom.
- Lube: sensitivity to the ingredients in lubrications & spermicides. Use a natural one that is specifically for sensitivity or use unrefined coconut oil (not condom compatible)
- Using a IUD
- Hysterectomy / Cervix Removal: – If you have had a hysterectomy, or even a partial hysterectomy with the cervix removed you may find douching with pure water after sex particularly beneficial, as your cervix which normally connects the uterus to the vagina is now gone. The cervix contains glands that make and release mucus, so with its removal your vagina may have a lowered mucus production.
- Oral Sex: Not even kidding. Prior to sex: wash your hands, brush your teeth & use a mouthwash, put the alcoholic or sugary drinks aside and drink water during play time. This goes for your partner too. Anything and everything that goes inside your vagina can alter your pH. Including tongues, penises, toys & fingers.
- Not Having Good Sexual Hygiene: see below.
- Multiple Partners
- Over-Douching: (if what you are using is messing with your natural flora you can give yourself BV or a Yeast infection.)
- Anything that messes with the pH of your vagina
Standard Treatment(s) for BV
If this is a first occurrence, You suspect it could be any other STI, Are Pregnant, or Following Childbirth – Please See Your Doctor. BV left untreated can increase your risk of a serious BV infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, miscarriage and premature labor. Pregnancy is NOT the time to experiment with any treatment. Your Doctor will prescribe one of the following:
- Metronidazole 500 mg orally 2 times a day, for 7 consecutive days.
- Metronidazole gel 0.75% one full applicator (5 g) intravaginally, once a day for 5 days.
- Clindamycin cream 2% one full applicator (5 g) intravaginally at bedtime for 7 days
PLEASE NOTE: Follow your prescribed treatment all the way through. BV can recur even after treatment. It’s an imbalance that can recur. You usually don’t need to treat your male partner if you have BV, but female partners can pass BV on to other female partners.
The following discussions are based on a mix of Traditional Medical Treatments, Folk Wisdom passed woman-to-woman, and other Alternative Treatments that have proven effective for some women. No single treatment works for everybody, we are all uniquely made with individual responses to any treatment. The information discussed below may be of more interest to those who are chronic or get Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) often!
- Lets start with Oral & Sexual Hygiene. If you are someone with a sensitive system this alone can be a game changer. Brush your teeth and use mouthwash prior to sex, especially oral sex. This goes for your partner too. Think about it. Any sugary drink, juice, pop, alcohol and the “big” one beer, can wreak havoc if it ends up inside of you .
- Wash your hands before sex and before putting in or removing tampons
- Hydration– your vagina is a mucous membrane, the better hydrated you are the wetter and more efficient it will be at self-lubricating and cleaning.
- Go Pee After Sex– this activates your natural internal cleaning mechanism, it helps prevent bladder infections too.
- Douche After Sex- I know very controversial… however douches account for 39 million dollars in sales in the USA alone. Caution is key here; Don’t use anything that is going to cause more problems to your natural flora. Pure water is the safest thing to use as a douche after sex. Just like our sinuses sometimes need a little help, your vagina will have an easier time staying in balance if you flush out semen & lubricants after sex. Avoid scented douches. Plain water is best.
- Over-Douching – Don’t over-douche. Use water or an ACV douche to flush out semen or lube after sex if needed but you don’t need to douche otherwise. Douching to treat an infection or prevent one (see below in Treatments) is limited to the treatment time frame. It’s not recommended as an on-going protocol.
- Semen – if semen from sex without a condom seems to be the cause of your BV, douche with pure water after sex to help flush out the semen, and alternatively use the two-step hydrogen peroxide/ baking soda douches whenever your odor seems a little off, or your discharge gets watery with a stronger unpleasant scent. Not to be confused with the natural fluctuations in scent depending on where you are in your cycle and how hydrated you are. (See below for a broader discussion)
- Avoid using deodorants or heavily perfumed products in and around your vaginal area (on the inside of your pants but not directly on the skin can be okay if unscented when first starting treatment)
- Take Probiotics Daily- and yes there are probiotics specifically formulated for women with emphasis on your vaginal health. For best results your probiotics should contain lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and lactobacillus reuteri RC-14.
- Prebiotic Suppositories– easy to use, and wonderful for maintaining your natural flora. They also help prevent BV, help keep your vagina lubricated, and enhance the overall health of your vagina. I highly recommend these for anyone the has had a hysterectomy, is suffering from chronic infections, or is dealing with hormonal fluctuations post pregnancy or during menopause. Basically I highly recommend these for all women.
- Eat yogurt with live probiotic cultures
One Woman’s Story:
“I go on antibiotics for a bladder infection, and within 2 days, bam I have a Yeast Infection; I go on the oral medication for that. With-in a week, I have BV; so I take medication for the BV. Then I’d get my period. I just felt like I was always dealing with something. ”
So she came up with a formula that works for her. “If I have to go on antibiotics I always ask the doctor to include an oral prescription for Yeast Infections because I don’t like messy creams . I use a hydrogen peroxide douche on Day 3 & Day 6 of my antibiotics treatment, so I don’t get BV.
Seems to be working, I’ve been free & clear of both for 4 years!”
Read here for common definition and interesting description (May 14, 2022): Bacterial vaginosis, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bacterial_vaginosis&oldid=1087260227
Boric Acid Vaginal Suppositories – Boric Acid is very effective in the treatment of BV & Vaginal Yeast Infections. It is even effective when other medications aren’t working. It has been used by women for over 100 years. The suppositories take only a few minutes to completely dissolve in the vagina and in my opinion are a less messy alternative. Insert one per day at the same time each day for consistent results. Do wear a panty liner as there is usually discharge while doing treatment. You can make your own suppositories or use ready made ones. For ready made Boric Acid Suppositories follow the directions on the bottle.
Follow any BV treatment with a Probiotic Suppository to restore your natural flora. Also very helpful, after a period & for women suffering from vaginal dryness and vaginal thinning during/after menopause. Wow, who knew there was so much involved in keeping our vaginas healthy!
Hydrogen Peroxide Douche / Baking Soda Douche– using hydrogen peroxide 3% only! Nothing stronger! Hydrogen peroxide comes in many strengths, only use 3%.
Read this study on hydrogen peroxide for BV Winceslaus SJ, Calver G. Recurrent bacterial vaginosis–an old approach to a new problem. Int J STD AIDS. 1996 Jul;7(4):284-7. doi: 10.1258/0956462961917816. PMID: 8876361.
RECIPE FOR HYDROGEN PEROXIDE DOUCHE (which will immediately remove the odor) This douche combo is highly effective in eliminating odor and in many cases curing BV. Hydrogen Peroxide is naturally occurring in your vagina and helps maintain optimal vaginal flora. The Baking Soda Rinse helps neutralize the Hydrogen Peroxide helping to balance your pH. The following protocol can be done as a stand-alone or set of treatments. If you opt to take the prescribed oral treatment for instance, you can also do a stand-alone (1x) douche with hydrogen peroxide to give it a little jump start and at least elimiate the odor. Step 1 As a Stand-Alone Treatment Douche with 4- 6 tablespoons of straight 3% Hydrogen Peroxide mixed with equal parts water using a douche bottle (If you don't have one just mix in a cup. Although a bit awkward to perform, as you need the liquid to stay in for 3 minutes - The easiest method is to lay in tub with legs over the edge, pelvis lifted to hold in solution for 3 minutes) then stand up in tub or over toilet and let run freely. Don't be freaked out if it's all foamy or tingly, that means it's doing it's job. IF THIS IS FOR A BV INFECTION Repeat Step 1 every 12 hours for 5 days. You do not need this solution to stay in for 3 minutes on the remaining applications, a regular douche application is fine which flows freely is sufficient. BV INFECTION Step 2 (starting on day 3) Follow the hydorgen peroxide douch above with a rinse using a douche made up of ¼ tsp on baking soda, and 1 cup pure water, mix well, put into douche applicator and rinse. This neutralizes the hydrogen peroxide and helps with your pH. This 2 step douche is also an excellent way to refresh after a period. NOTE: Use common sense. This works best at first signs, or after unprotected sex if you are prone to infection (say after a prolonged absence or multiple sessions in a short period of time). Like any method this doesn't work for everyone, and the infection should still be assessed by a doctor or a testing kit.
Pro Tip: If you find the smell of BV a little embarrassing it doesn’t hurt to spray the outside of your underwear with a little unscented deodorant or the crotch on the inside of your pants for the first couple days while you’re doing your treatment. Do not put deodorant directly on or against your skin.
Natural Vaginal Scent
Hydration, hydration, hydration… If you are dehydrated so is your vagina. Your “natural” odor will be stronger, and your pee will be darker in color.
It is completely normal to be stronger at different times during your menstrual cycle. This is all normal and natural. Don’t confuse stronger with an infection. Know the difference. We can also have a stronger odor if the outer area isn’t pristinely clean: A hot day, ”Toilet paper shrapnel “, Lycra leggings, or even Tight Jeans. A quick rinse with water or unscented feminine wipes, or a shower might be all you need!
You are what you eat. Just like some people smell like garlic 🧄 when they eat it…think about it!
It stands to reason that your vagina isn’t going to be healthy if the rest of you isn’t. A diet rich in greens & fruit goes a long way in making your overall body odor more pleasant, including your vagina. And yes pineapple does work If You Eat it Regularly! It can also help make you taste 👅 better! 😉
A Story that Still Has Me Laughing 😂 A lady wrote that she had heard that “eating pineapple would make her pussy sweeter for oral sex”. So she ate one piece of pineapple, then tested this theory with her husband 20 minutes later, but her husband said she didn’t taste any different. Her conclusion… “Doesn’t Work” Hahaha, she's right…20 minutes is not long enough for the pineapple juice to sweeten anything except maybe your tongue… but eating it and drinking lots of water for a few days will. Also try Watermelon, Peaches, Pears - any juicy fruits when In combination with being hydrated will work!