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Could You Have BV and Not Know It? | BV part 2

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a sneaky infection that many women don’t even realize they have, even though it’s the most common infection among women of childbearing age! If you go to the pharmacy, there is a huge selection of products for yeast infections, but anything related to treating BV is pretty much absent. What’s worse, is most of the products are advertised as eliminating “vaginal odor.” (Could there be anything more embarrassing than buying a product with that on the label?) In reality, these can cause even more problems.

The symptoms of BV can be more obvious for some than for others. Some women have pain and itching, and a fishy odor. And if you don’t notice the odor, you might notice an ammonia smell in your underwear from your cervical fluid reacting with detergent residues in your panties. Others may not notice much of anything. Half of all women with BV have no noticeable symptoms at all! Personally, I just had an increase in watery discharge that in the beginning which I hoped meant my fertility was coming back. (I have premature ovarian failure.) I didn’t notice a smell directly on myself, but did notice the room I slept in smelled weird in the morning. I thought it was just stuffy and my daughter and I were sweaty or something. I had no pain or itching.

The day I realized something was wrong, I was driving my sister to the airport over an hour away. I dropped her off and then stopped at a gas station to use the restroom and get some more coffee. I was appalled when I stood up and saw that the crotch of my pants was wet! It looked like I had slightly wet myself without even knowing. This continued for a couple of days and I made an appointment with my gyn…this was NOT normal, nor was it my fertility returning! I actually started to get really scared when I googled my symptoms and cancer was one of the answers (but isn’t it always?) I was super relieved when they said I had BV, though super confused. How could I have this, and why?

There’s actually some controversy in the causes of BV. It’s obviously related to bacterial strains in the vagina — good bacteria gone bad or out of balance, or lack of the right bacteria for some reason. Vaginal pH levels also come into play here. It’s generally accepted that the vagina should be acidic, but sex and other factors can disrupt this (semen is alkaline.) Yet, women who have never had sex can get BV, and it’s not considered an STD. Menstruation can disrupt the pH as well, which is why many women see a relapse right afterward. Douching, one of the things advertised to decrease vaginal odor, is actually notoriously bad for disrupting the pH and bacterial balance. (Friends don’t let friends douche, just sayin’.)

Should you treat it if you have little or no symptoms? Yes and no. Traditional medical treatment involves some pretty hefty antibiotics (metronidazole) that have potential for big side effects. Plus, any time you take antibiotics at all, you run the risk of disrupting the good bacteria in your entire body and wreaking havoc on your digestion. Personally, I found the antibiotics to be a temporary fix that possibly messed things up even more. What’s more effective is detoxing and the right probiotics.

Your GUT Rules All

More and more research points to the gut being the starting point for many ailments and diseases, and bacterial vaginosis is no different — especially since the colon and vagina are so close together.

How to help your gut? There are many factors to consider, including diet, stress, and taking probiotics. Most of us these days in modern the world, with our highly processed diets, have some form of gut dysbiosis and leaky gut, which I will cover in a future blog soon. For now, the first thing you can do is take the proper probiotics to start shifting things in your digestive tract and thus your vagina. Lactobacillus are among the most needed for proper pH and vaginal health, which is why I chose this specific probiotic blend designed for vaginal and urinary tract health. I’ve personally had great results taking this daily, and much less recurrence of BV. When it does start to come back, it’s always because I slacked on taking them!

As time has gone on, I’ve discovered more ways to change my gut flora for the better, by helping provide a better environment for the right ones to thrive in via my diet. (click to read more)

PS Did you miss part 1? Check it out here!