Bacterial vaginosis can result from an imbalance in the amount of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in your vagina. Let us look at natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis and medications used 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 required.
Natural Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis
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 in the past.
Inserting boric acid could help lower the vaginal pH and ward off bacterial vaginosis. According to several studies, the use of boric acid is considered a promising treatment. For example, an investigation revealed that using three weeks of 600-milligram boric acid suppositories per day and taking antibiotics for 7 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. You should talk to a doctor to ensure that using boric acid is safe for you.
Make sure 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 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. For the treatment of vaginal infections, boric acid is available in the form of 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 will comfortably go into your vagina.
- Dispose of the applicator.
- Wear a panty liner to absorb any excessive discharge.
- Rewash your hands after you are done.
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 get rid of 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 of 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, there is no robust evidence that tea tree oil can help cure BV. Tea tree oil is also available over the counter as a suppository. Tea tree oil is very concentrated and diluting it 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 have a reaction.
Tea tree oil is not considered safe to use during pregnancy. Before buying any tea tree oil products or using and natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis, you should always consult your doctor.
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 actually 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 acidic pH that is induced by the gel encourages the regrowth of lactobacilli. The active ingredient in the gel is glycogen, which provides nutrients to the acidic bacteria and helps them grow.
Moreover, besides restoring the normal pH balance, lactic acid also helps eliminate the unpleasant odour caused by bacterial vaginosis. Generally, this natural BV treatment method has no identified side effects. Although, a slight stinging sensation may occur after a lactic acid gel is inserted. These treatments are relatively new, and research is still required to determine their exact 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 any foreign objects inside the vagina.
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.
- Dosage: Pill: 500 milligrams (mg) taken orally twice per day for 7 days
Gel: 5 grams of gel is inserted into the vagina once a day for 5 days
- Side effects: diarrhoea, 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 10 days, then twice weekly for 3 to 6 months.
Clindamycin is another option for treating BV. The antibiotic is available in the form of a pill, cream, or suppository. An ovule suppository is a form of a capsule that is inserted into the vagina.
- Dosage:Pill: 300 mg taken orally twice per day for 7 days
Cream: 5 g of the cream is inserted into the vagina at bedtime for 7 days
Ovule suppositories: 100 mg is inserted into the vagina at bedtime for 3 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.
- Dosage: 2 g tablet orally once a day for 2 days
1 g tablet orally once per day for 5 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.
This antibiotic is taken 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 be consumed by mixing them 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 infection is cured.
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 likley to disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina may increase the chance of getting BV. However, some measures that may help lower the risk include:
- Avoiding 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 be confused for other vaginal infections, and natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis are usually ineffective in treating the condition. In addition, if bacterial vaginosis is left untreated, it can have a lasting impact or lead to complications. However, to avoid all this, simply 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 who have been 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.
Treatment of BV requires the use of oral antibiotics or vaginal gels. However, some natural remedies that may help deal with symptoms include:
Tea tree oil
Boric acid suppositories
Getting rid of the vaginal odour is often complicated and requires dealing with the underlying cause.
Some ways in which you can reduce or combat the vaginal odour include:
a healthy diet
avoid scented products, wipes and douching
Some natural ways to help manage the symptoms of BV involve taking probiotic or garlic supplements and using boric acid or tea tree oil suppositories.