Bacterial vaginosis can result from an imbalance in the amount of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in your vagina. Look at natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis and medications to treat the infection.
The following bacterial vaginosis natural treatments have some research to back their effectiveness, but the studies are not conclusive as further research is necessary.
If you want to, ‘What is the quickest way to treat bacterial vaginosis?’, this article is a must-read.
Natural Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis
Following are some BV remedies without antibiotics:
1. Boric Acid Suppositories
Bacterial vaginosis and boric acid are common topics for discussion. Boric acid is available over the counter as a vaginal suppository. It has also been widely used to maintain vaginal health by women.
Inserting boric acid could help lower the vaginal pH and ward off bacterial vaginosis. According to several studies, boric acid is considered a promising treatment. For example, an investigation revealed that using three weeks of 600-milligram boric acid suppositories daily and taking antibiotics for seven days had a cure rate of 87%, 78%, and 65% at 12, 16, and 28-week follow-ups. Although, researchers suggest that further studies are required to determine the efficacy of boric acid as a plausible solution for recurrent BV.
Is boric acid safe to use?
Boric acid is safe to use vaginally. However, it should not be swallowed; it can be toxic. Do not take boric acid by mouth, and ensure that you keep it out of reach of children and pets. Do not use boric acid during pregnancy, either. It would be best to talk to a doctor to ensure that boric acid is safe.
Ensure you follow the instructions carefully and do not exceed the recommended dosage if you have decided to give boric acid a shot to treat your current BV. Furthermore, if you experience any discharge, burning, irritation, rash, redness, or hives, stop using boric acid immediately and report it to a doctor.
How to use boric acid suppositories
Boric acid is a popular home remedy for BV and is readily available over the counter. Dr. April Blake, a naturopath, stated that boric acid works for BV and yeast infections. For the treatment of vaginal infections, boric acid is available as gelatin capsules, which can be inserted into your vagina.
Instructions on how to insert the capsule:
- Wash your hands and dry them using a towel.
- After that, lie on your back and bend your knees. Alternatively, you can stand with your knees bent as well.
- Using your fingers or an applicator, gently insert one capsule as far as it comfortably goes into your vagina.
- Dispose of the applicator.
- Wear a panty liner to absorb any excessive discharge.
- Rewash your hands after intercourse.
The usual dose of boric acid is 600 mg per day, which can be taken for 7 to 14 days.
If you are looking for natural ways to eliminate bacterial vaginosis, you can consider consuming food items and drinks with antibacterial and pro-bacterial properties. These can help your body to fight off infection more naturally. Another natural remedy for BV includes taking probiotics. Studies have suggested that probiotics may prevent bacterial vaginosis from recurring. Current research into BV treatment at home focuses on maintaining and increasing these stores of good bacteria. Lactobacilli bacteria play a role in maintaining vaginal pH and preventing infections. Probiotics help the body produce these natural bacteria that can help fight the bacteria associated with BV. Probiotics come in the form of pills or liquid. You can consider taking probiotic supplements or take natural probiotics. These include:
- Fermented Foods
- Cottage Cheese
3. Garlic supplements
Another one of bacterial vaginosis home remedies includes consuming garlic. Garlic possesses natural antibacterial properties. A study revealed that oral garlic supplements had similar therapeutic effects in treating BV as metronidazole( oral antibiotic). You should never place garlic or garlic products inside your vagina
3. Tea tree oil
Another BV home treatment involves using tea tree oil. It is an essential oil that has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Many people have tried tea tree oil for bacterial vaginosis. However, no robust evidence exists that tea tree oil can help cure BV. Tea tree oil is also available over the counter as a suppository. Tea tree oil is concentrated and diluted before an application is often required.
Some individuals can also be allergic to tea tree oil. Therefore, it is best to use a small amount of the oil (diluted in a carrier oil such as olive or coconut oil) on your skin and wait a while to see if you react.
Tea tree oil is not safe to use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before buying tea tree oil products or using natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis.
4. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may assist in treating BV. However, there is clinical evidence to prove that this home remedy for BV is effective. Furthermore, it is entirely possible that douching with apple cider vinegar may worsen your infection.
5. Lactic Acid Gel
Lactic Acid gels work by restoring the natural acidity of the vagina. It is not an antibiotic. These gels are available over the counter as well.
The gel maintains acidic pH, which encourages the regrowth of lactobacilli. The active ingredient in the gel is glycogen, which provides nutrients to acidic bacteria and helps them grow.
Moreover, besides restoring the average pH balance, lactic acid also helps eliminate the unpleasant odor caused by bacterial vaginosis. Generally, this natural BV treatment method has no identified side effects. Although, a slight stinging sensation may occur after inserting a lactic acid gel. These treatments are relatively new, and research is still necessary to determine their effectiveness.
Conclusively, it is always best to consult your doctor before initiating the treatment. Natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis may not be your best treatment option. In addition, most gynecologists do not recommend inserting foreign objects inside the vagina.
6. Hydrogen peroxide
Some studies state that hydrogen peroxide can help reduce or tackle the symptoms of BV. However, Hydrogen peroxide can irritate the vulvar area, and insufficient evidence supports its effectiveness.
A study conducted in 2012 concluded that hydrogen peroxide douches are ineffective in treating bacterial vaginosis. Vaginal douches disturb the vaginal flora and create an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria. Douching can increase the probability of irritation and infection.
7. Calendula extract
Certain herbs possess strong antibacterial properties. In a study, some patients were enrolled and made to use a vaginal cream infused with the calendula officinalis extract. The effectiveness of Calendula at treating BV was at par with metronidazole. However, further research is needed to prove whether Calendula extract is effective.
The best treatments for bacterial vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is treated with oral antibiotics, gels, or creams. Following are the medications prescribed to treat BV.
Metronidazole is one of the prescription options to treat BV. It is available in the form of a pill or gel.
- Pill: 500 milligrams (mg) taken orally twice per day for seven days
- Gel: 5 grams of gel is inserted into the vagina once a day for five days
Side effects: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, mouth or tongue irritation.
If your BV keeps recurring, your doctor may prescribe medication for a longer duration. For example, if this is the case, 500 mg of metronidazole is commonly prescribed for 10 to 14 days. Alternatively, the vaginal gel can be used for ten days, then twice weekly for 3 to 6 months.
Clindamycin is another option for treating BV. The antibiotic is available as a pill, cream, or suppository. An ovule suppository is a form of a capsule inserted into the vagina.
- Pill: 300 mg taken orally twice per day for seven days
- Cream: 5 g of the cream is inserted into the vagina at bedtime for seven days
- Ovule suppositories: 100 mg is inserted into the vagina at bedtime for three days
Side effects: Nausea, vomiting, heartburn, pain while swallowing, joint pain, vaginal discharge, metallic taste in the mouth, or vaginal burning.
Clindamycin cream and ovules contain oil, which can weaken latex products like condoms and diaphragms; therefore, you should use another form of contraception while on the treatment.
Tinidazole is also an oral antibiotic that is also prescribed for BV.
- 2 g tablet orally once a day for two days
- 1 g tablet orally once per day for five days
Side effects: loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, constipation, stomach pain, fatigue, dizziness, headache, or metallic taste in the mouth.
If you experience side effects from first-line treatment such as metronidazole, your doctor may prescribe Tinidazole.
Consume this antibiotic in one dose.
- Dosage: Secnidazole is available in the form of granules. The recommended dose is a single dose of 2 g. The granules can mix with unsweetened applesauce or yogurt first.
- Side effects: Diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, headache, metallic taste in the mouth.
Secnidazole is comparatively more expensive than other treatments. However, it is a good option if a patient prefers a single-dose treatment.
Other measures to follow to prevent BV
Rinsing the vagina with warm water is enough to help keep it clean.
Some steps that help reduce the chances of getting BV include:
- Avoid douching
- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement or peeing.
- Avoid scented vaginal products, wipes, and sprays
- Make sure to change liners, pads, or tampons regularly
Safe sex practices may help reduce your chances of getting BV
Individuals with BV should abstain from sex or use barrier protection until the cure of infection.
The vagina houses a colony of organisms that maintain vaginal health and vaginal pH. Changes to the vaginal pH or bacteria make the vagina more prone to infections, especially BV.
Some sexual practices are more likely to disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina and may increase the chance of getting BV. However, some measures that may help lower the risk include:
- Avoid shifting from anal to vaginal sex: Changing condoms before going from anal to vaginal intercourse and washing sex toys with soap and warm water can help reduce the risk.
- Using barrier protection: Using condoms and other forms of barrier methods can help prevent BV.
- Urinating post intercourse: Urinating after intercourse can help prevent infection. Also, rinse the vagina and vulva with clean water. Sexual fluids and lubricants can upset the pH balance of the vagina, making them more vulnerable to a BV infection.
When to Consult a Doctor
Bacterial vaginosis symptoms can mistake for other vaginal infections, and natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis are usually ineffective in treating the condition. In addition, if bacterial vaginosis infection prolongs, it can have a lasting impact or lead to complications. However, to avoid all this, talk to a doctor at Your Doctors Online and get the proper treatment!
FAQs on Bacterial Vaginosis Treatment Answered by Your Doctors Online Team
Most people prescribed a 7-day course of antibiotics notice their symptoms improve or subside within 2-3 days after starting treatment. Oral antibiotics are available as single-dose or 7-day oral medication. A 5 or 7-day intravaginal treatment is another option for treatment.
Getting rid of the vaginal odor is often complicated and requires dealing with the underlying cause.
Some ways in which you can reduce or combat the vaginal odor include:
a healthy diet
avoid scented products, wipes, and douching
Bacterial vaginosis is usually treated with antibiotics. The following treatment options are considered safe during breastfeeding:
1. Oral metronidazole 400 mg twice a day for 5-7 days
2. Intravaginal metronidazole for five days, 0.75% once a day
3. Intravaginal clindamycin 2% once a day for one week
Although more common in sexually active individuals, bacterial vaginosis can’t be passed from person to person.
Some remedies can be used to treat the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. Although antibiotics can help cure the infection without delay.