Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)


Most vaginal problems are caused by either bacterial problems (BV), candidiasis and/or Trichomonas vaginalis. You can have one or all of them as the problem is really a loss of the correct bacterial and pH balance of the vaginal tract which leads to a degrading of the vaginal skin barrier.

It's the destruction of the barrier that is thought to cause the main symptom of vaginal discharge. The damaged barrier is then vulnerable to other organisms which is why some women's problems are not just bacterial but can be yeast (as in candida) and allergy/sensitivity to chemicals in loo paper or bath products, for example. 

There are thought to be three main causative factors in just why the bacterial environment changes in some women - sexual activity, douching, and the absence of peroxide-producing lactobacilli in the vagina which might have been affected by antibiotics or just not developed from birth as they should do. Obviously, most women can fight off the infections so a low immunity can sometimes be at the heart of the problem. In this case, I normally advise a Salivary SIgA test, which can give you a good sense of your mucosal immunity strength if you are finding recurrent problems.

 

Symptoms and Diagnosis


BV can be asymptomatic (ie. you don't get any symptoms), but the usual main symptom is vaginal discharge. 

In BV, the vagina tends to have a 'fishy' smell and the discharge is thin, dark, or dull gray. Itching is not common with BV but may be present if there is a profuse discharge. However, if Trichomonas or Candida is involved, there can be a lot of irritation, soreness (usually burning) and irritation.

When a patient has four or more BV episodes in a year, the problem is most likley to be an inability to fight (low immunity) and not re-establishing the right bacterial balance in the vaginal tract.

About 30% of women experience a recurrence of symptomatic BV within 1 to 3 months, and about 70% have a recurrence within 9 months. It is not always clear whether the recurrence represents a relapse or a reinfection. Another possibility is that a woman may be asymptomatic at times but, because of the abnormal vaginal ecosystem, she has a chronic underlying condition, so that she is sometimes symptomatic and at other times is not.

Your GP or local clinic can do a test and you can also do a simple swab Bacterial Vaginosis test postally, looking for the three main causes: Trichomonas, Gardnerella and Candida.

 

Treatment

This is usually centred around whatever has been found on testing. The keys are to kill off the current infection, re-establish the right bacteria and improve immunity.

There are sepcific herbs, probiotics and nutritional protocols that can be used and I will help direct you via a Test Report or Case Review if you need it. At some point, I hope to have completed a full DIY factsheet for you!

 



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