What are the best natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis?

Applying pure witch hazel, from the witch hazel plant, can provide relief for women with bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a vaginal infection in which the normal bacteria in the vagina become out of balance, causing a fishy smell, discharge, and sometimes itching or burning. This condition can be diagnosed and treated with antibiotics by a doctor, although natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis also exist. The decision between conventional and natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis should be discussed with a doctor or natural medicine specialist, or both.

Garlic is believed to have natural antibiotic properties that can be used to treat bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis is a very common infection, especially among women of reproductive age. The infection occurs when the naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria in the vagina overproduce and the pH of the vagina drops. The cause of the infection is still unknown, although it is related to sexual activity. People with new or multiple sexual partners are more likely to develop BV, although women who are not sexually active can also develop BV. Because it irritates the vagina and flushes out the “bad” bacteria with the “good” ones, douching can also increase your risk of BV.

Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis can be alleviated by adding tea tree oil to bath water.

BV is traditionally not considered a serious problem, but it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It is now known that it can also increase susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections. A doctor can diagnose BV by taking a swab from the vagina and testing it for smell, pH, and indicator cells. Indicator cells are epithelial cells that contain an exceptionally high amount of bacteria. It’s important to get tested before trying antibiotics or natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis, as it can be confused with other vaginal conditions such as a yeast infection.

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Having a new sexual partner can contribute to contracting bacterial vaginosis.

Doctors usually prescribe an antibiotic in cream or pill form, such as clindamycin, for BV, but many women find that it doesn’t work well, especially for recurrent infections. Alternative natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis include garlic pills, herbal douches, healthy diet and probiotics. Garlic is believed to have natural antibiotic properties and can be ingested in pill form, infused in water, or eaten. Some people recommend herbal douches, prepared with essential oil and natural antiseptics such as tea tree oil, calendula, garlic, Echinacea and goldenseal. However, douching is not recommended by most doctors, so it is best to seek professional advice on whether or not to douche.

Usually sold in capsule form, echinacea – or purple coneflower – can help treat some types of vaginosis.

Healthy diet changes can also be an excellent and harmless example of natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis. Many naturopaths recommend cutting out processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, refined flour and foods high in saturated fat. It may also be beneficial to eat yogurt, which contains live “good” bacteria, although the effectiveness of this treatment alone has been debated in mainstream medicine. It is certainly helpful with prescription antibiotics to prevent all the bacteria from being washed out which can lead to a yeast infection.

People with new or multiple sexual partners are more likely to develop bacterial vaginosis.

To alleviate BV symptoms, one can also try taking a bath with a few drops of tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar. Some women also try applying witch hazel to relieve itching and odor. If the area is burning or tender, however, these remedies may cause further irritation.

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