What Should I Do If I Have Bv
BV is easy to treat. If you think you have BV:
- See a doctor or nurse. Antibiotics will treat BV.
- Take all of your medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antibiotic.
- Tell your sex partner if she is female so she can be treated.
- Avoid sexual contact until you finish your treatment.
- See your doctor or nurse again if you have symptoms that don’t go away within a few days after finishing the antibiotic.
Ask About Boric Acid Suppositories
Boric acid has been used to maintain vaginal health for centuries. Its available over-the-counter as a vaginal suppository.
Some recommend using it alongside antibiotic treatment. A on the use of boric acid shows its a promising effective treatment.
A clinical trial is also being conducted to determine whether vaginal boric acid suppositories are as effective at treating BV as antibiotics. The results are pending.
Boric acid poses some serious risks. If taken by mouth, it can lead to poisoning and even death. Pregnant people shouldnt take boric acid, as it can pose risks to a developing fetus.
Speak to your healthcare provider if youre considering this option to make sure its safe for you.
How Can I Protect Myself If I Am A Female And My Female Partner Has Bv
If your partner has BV, you might be able to lower your risk by using protection during sex.
- Use a dental dam every time you have sex. A dental dam is a thin piece of latex that is placed over the vagina before oral sex.
- Cover sex toys with condoms before use. Remove the condom and replace it with a new one before sharing the toy with your partner.
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How Bv Is Spread
Although it is not clear how BV is transmitted, it is more common in women who are sexually active. It sometimes develops soon after intercourse with a new partner. Women who have female sexual partners may be at higher risk than women who have sex with only male partners. Research has not conclusively found a link between BV and specific sexual practices or acts. However, recent evidence supports the use of condoms to reduce the risk of this infection.
Can Bv Affect Your Period
- 5 min read
If youve ever had or are prone to getting bacterial vaginosis , you might be wondering if BV can affect your period.
Bacterial vaginosis can often be instigated by hormonal changes, such as those that occur as a part of your menstrual cycle, since these hormonal changes can affect the overall acidity and bacterial balance inside the vagina. Normally, the vaginas internal pH hovers within the acidic range of 3.8 to 4.5. But since menstrual blood is more neutral , this can raise the acidity level of the vagina, making you more susceptible to vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis.
So your period might raise your risk for BV, but what about the other way around? Can having BV affect your period? While it is possible for bacterial vaginosis to cause a small amount of bleeding or spotting, there doesnt seem to be any clear evidence suggesting that BV can affect your period. In other words, the hormonal changes around your period might bring upon BV, but there doesnt seem to be a link to that being the other way around.
Something to keep in mind, however, is that untreated BV can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease , which can cause bleeding. Although the bleeding might make you think youre having your period, PID doesnt really have anything to do with your period.
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What Are The Causes
The exact causes of bacterial vaginosis are still unclear. Vaginal homeostasis can be disrupted by both internal factors and external factors , but it isnât fully understood why one person gets recurrent BV in a particular situation when another doesnât. There are some factors that have been shown to increase the risk for example, people whoâve douched in the previous six months are significantly more likely to have BV . Prolonged or irregular uterine bleeding may also be a contributor. This may happen because uterine blood changes the pH of the vagina to be slightly less acidic and/or because red blood cells provide more opportunity for lactobacilli to be carried out of the vagina . People who have prolonged bleeding as a side effect of a new IUD, for example, may be more likely to have BV, but more research is needed . Recurrent BV may pop up around the time of menstruation for the same reason . The use of hormonal contraceptives in general, including âthe pillâ, has been shown to have a protective effect against BV .
Sexual activity is also associated with a higher risk of BV. In the US, about 85% of people who get BV are sexually active . Specific risk factors may include new or multiple sex partners, a lack of condom use, vaginal intercourse and receiving anal sex before vaginal intercourse without a new protective barrier .
Recurrent episodes of BV may tend to appear around the time of menstruation.
Bacterial Vaginosis: Getting To The Real Causes
The mainstay of conventional medical BV treatment is antibiotics, but as youll learn in this article, as my patient Sam did, treatment isnt foolproof theres a high recurrence rate, and on top of this, conventional treatment carries medical risks. Conventional antibiotic treatment is not a long-term solution for BV. Its a bandaid, albeit sometimes necessary in the short run, for whats really going on: disruption in the vaginal microbiome, otherwise known as vaginal dysbiosis.
The medical community is having the wrong conversation about bacterial vaginosis. BV is talked about as an isolated gynecological problem and not as an imbalance in the vaginal microbiome which can be the result of a larger, system-wide imbalance in a womans total ecosystem.But BV is annoying, sometimes uncomfortable, and also carries some risks. So whats a gal to do?
The answer lies in understanding the underlying cause of BV disruption in the vaginal microbiome and removing the triggers and causes of that. These include diet, stress, and what goes in there from toxins in our tampons to who were having sex with and what happens to the greater environment of the body, for example, with antibiotics we might use for infections in general .
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Maintain A Healthy Vaginal Ph
When vaginal pH is too highthat is, too basic or alkalineit may encourage the growth of bacteria associated with BV. As a result, maintaining a vaginal pH thats slightly acidic may help prevent reinfection.
What Does It Mean When You Have Bacterial Vaginosis
What does it mean when you have bacterial vaginosis? Bacterial vaginosis is a condition that happens when there is too much of certain bacteria in the vagina.
How old do you have to be to have bacterial vaginosis? Bacterial vaginosis is a condition caused by changes in the amount of certain types of bacteria in your vagina. BV can develop when your vagina has more harmful bacteria than good bacteria. Who gets BV? BV is the most common vaginal condition in women ages 15 to 44. But women of any age can get it, even if they have never had sex.
What happens when you have too much bacteria in your vagina? Your vagina is home to multiple types of bacteria , just like your digestive system. Bacterial vaginosis happens when some of the vaginal bacteria grow more quickly than others. Too much of one type of bacteria leads to an imbalance. Is bacterial vaginosis contagious ?
Are there any health problems associated with BV? Most often, BV does not cause other health problems. However, if left untreated, BV may increase your risk for: Sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. Pelvic inflammatory disease where BV bacteria infect the uterus or fallopian tubes.
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Why Do I Keep Getting Bv After Sex
It is common to get BV after sex, including oral sex and sex with another woman. This is because any activity or anything that causes different bodily fluids to enter the vagina can change the balance of bacteria and cause BV.
You can get recurring BV after regular sex with the same partner, as well as if you change sexual partners.
What To Do If You Get Bv While On Your Period
If you happen to notice any signs or symptoms of getting BV during your period, you might want to wait a day or two to see if the problem goes away. Sometimes, your naturally occurring lactobacilli that live in your vagina will correct the problem on their own.
However, if some time passes and you still have symptoms of feeling off, it doesnt hurt to consult your doctor, whether youre on your period or not. Getting BV while youre on your period is nothing to feel bad about. Often, the hormonal changes that occur before, during, and after your period can have an effect on the bacterial balance of your vagina. Keep in mind that your doctor might wait to treat the bacterial vaginosis until after the cessation of your period, but its a good idea to have a conversation with them.
To feel fresh whether you have BV or not, you may also want to try a cleansing product like our Rebalance Personal Moisturizing and Cleansing Wipes or Balance pH-Balanced Personal Wash. Both will accurately match your optimal pH levels and support a healthy vaginal ecosystem. Read more about the benefits of using pH-balanced vaginal products in our blog post What Every Woman Needs to Know About Vaginal pH.
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When Should I Get Treatment For Bacterial Vaginosis
The body is often very good at getting back its own balance. The disruption in the balance of vaginal germs that causes BV may correct naturally, with time. So, if you have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, you may not need any treatment, particularly if you take some of the general healthy steps above?
You normally need treatment for BV if it is causing symptoms, or if the characteristic smell is noticeable to you. If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or about to have a gynaecological procedure then you may be advised to get treatment for BV.
PregnancyIf you are pregnant and you are found to have BV then you will usually be offered antibiotic treatment with oral metronidazole .
If you are trying to conceive and you think you may have BV, it is a good idea to try to eradicate the BV through natural methods or treatment prior to conceiving. If you have symptoms then you should discuss having antibiotic treatment with your doctor.
Termination of pregnancyIf you are found to have BV and are undergoing a termination of pregnancy, treatment with antibiotics may be advised even if you do not have any symptoms. This is because there is otherwise a risk of BV causing infection of the womb or pelvis after the procedure. This could lead to later fertility problems.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bv
Common symptoms of BV include a thin white or gray vaginal discharge that is sometimes accompanied by a strong fishy smell, especially after having sex or washing with soap. Itching or burning in and around the vulva can also be a sign of BV, as can itching or burning when you pee. However, it is sometimes possible for BV to have no symptoms at all.
If you’re at all concerned that you have BV, you should see your doctor ASAP. It’s also worth mentioning that the symptoms of BV can be mistaken for other conditions, including vaginitis, vaginal yeast infections, or trichomoniasis. “It’s a good idea to pay attention to what your vulva and vaginal discharge normally looks, feels, and smells like, so its easier to notice any changes that could be signs of vaginitis or other infections,” Dean says.
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How To Get Rid Of Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis
New approaches to treating BV are currently under investigation in clinical studies designed to meet safety and effectiveness criteria set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approving medication, Dr. Hemmerling notes.
But in the meantime, its understandable if you feel like finding a cure for your recurrent BV is something you have to take into your own hands. Many women are frustrated with their experiences in the doctors office, particularly when they visit primary care physicians rather than sexual health physicians for recurrent BV, due to what they describe as healthcare providers insensitivity and dismissals.
According to a 2015 study published in Plos One, women suffering from recurrent BV reported that their doctors had told them it will just resolve itself or its just a womans thing, or they admitted that they didnt know what causes it or how to cure it themselves.
Keep in mind: Some of the most popular home remedies youll find on Instagram like vaginal washes or gels, perfumed douching agents, deodorants, or steaming procedures should never be used. These remedies can negatively impact the vaginal microbiome further or cause damage to the protective cell layers of the vagina, Dr. Hemmerling explains. Case in point: A Vagisil Feminine Moisturizer gel actually halted the growth of beneficial bacteria in the vagina, per a 2013 study published in Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease.
When To See A Doctor
Its always a good idea to see your doctor if youre experiencing unusual changes in your vaginal health. Brown discharge after your period isnt usually a cause for concern, but you may want to see your doctor if you have any other symptoms, such as pain and itchiness.
You should also call your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- colored discharge, especially yellow and green
- bleeding that lasts longer than normal
- redness and swelling around the vulva
- severe cramps or pelvic pain
- pain during intercourse
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Things You Can Do To Prevent Internal Bv Or External Symptoms
1. Avoid douching and using perfumed products internally. Potential allergic reactions can cause itching, burning, and even abnormal discharge that mimics infection. Explore more reasons why these products should be avoided at all costs.
2. Do not use home remedies internally. Women try all kinds of interesting things to remedy BV. Symptoms cause such stress that they resort to placing things like apple cider vinegar, garlic, tea tree oil, yogurt, boric acid, and hydrogen peroxide into the vagina in a race for relief. As you can imagine, this is a terrible idea. Please do not do this.
We never recommend using anything internally to clear symptoms. Period. Doing this can exacerbate symptoms, and the products effects on vaginal pH is not healthy. Its normal for the vagina to clean itself. Whats not normal is an infection, and thats when you need to call your doctor.
External issues are similar. After researching home remedies, you can try applying something like apple cider vinegar on a towel or wipe to the vulva at your own risk. However, many women cant tolerate these substances down there, not to mention their benefit doesnt last long anyway.
So, youll want to try sticking with natural fabrics like 100% cotton or wool, or at least undies with natural lining.
6. Cut back on cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes has an anti-estrogenic effect and alters levels of healthy vaginal bacteria, which increases your odds of infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vaginosis
The symptoms associated with vaginosis do not appear all at once, and may be delayed overall. In many instances, there are no symptoms at all, but in time, they may start to appear in single changes or multiple changes. When symptoms do start to appear, they begin with odor. From that, vaginal discharge may occur, itching, redness, and even pain may occur as a result of the symptoms. Left without any treatment, these do not go away, and could get worse, and cause serious issues during menstruation, and sexual intercourse as well.
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Is Bv A Sexually Transmitted Infection
BV is not a sexually transmitted infection. However, the CDC notes that BV occurs most often in people who are sexually active, and that BV rarely affects people who have not had sex. Not using condoms or having new or multiple sex partners can sometimes increase a persons risk for developing BV.
“Sex sometimes leads to BV if your partner’s natural genital ‘chemistry’ changes the balance of bacteria in your vagina and causes the bacteria associated with BV to grow, Dean explains. If you have BV, your sexual partner with a penis generally does not need treatment for BV. BV may spread between partners with vaginas. Although BV is not an STI, having BV increases your chances of becoming infected with an STI, including HIV, if you are exposed to one. If you are HIV positive, untreated BV increases your chances of passing HIV along to your sex partners.”
Bacterial Vaginosis: Free Yourself From This Stage 5 Clinger
As we waited for the little man on the crosswalk to blink green, I struck a pose.
Hands on hips, legs spread and planted firmly into the ground, staring straight ahead as the breeze flowed through my skirt. My best friend looked at me with furrowed brow.
What are you doing?
I think my vagina smells. Im airing it out. Can you smell it? I think I can smell it.
This is just one of the many ridiculous things you do when you are filled with the paranoia that comes with what seems to be everlasting bacterial vaginosis .
You stand on city corners like Wonder Woman and ask your friend if she can catch a whiff of your lady parts while you wait to cross the road .
You take drastic measures into your own hands as you search the interwebs for any clue as to how to get rid of this menacing thorn in your hoo-ha as you cry, wondering what you ever did to deserve smelly sex and milky underpants.
This is where my pain becomes your benefit. Ive done all the deep dives into medical journals, foreign websites, hippie remedies, and outlandish theories to see what works in curbing what good ole WebMD calls a mild problem that may go away on its own.
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