The inflammation of the vagina is what is known as vaginitis. The most common types take place when too much of certain kinds of bacteria or fungi grow, upsetting the vagina's delicate balance.
Normally, some bacteria are present in the area around the vagina. An infection can develop when levels of infectious bacteria increase. Although this condition can develop in women at any time, it is frequent in women who are at their reproductive stage. Even though what exactly causes bacterial vaginosis is still unclear, some factors, including too much douching and having unprotected sex are known to make you prone to the infection.
Yeast infections, on the other hand, are caused by an overgrowth of certain fungi. Various factors that upset the chemical balance in the vagina can make one prone to this condition. Wearing tight-fitting underwear and pants may also contribute risk, since they provide a warm, moist environment in which fungi thrive.
The following are some of the symptoms of vaginitis:
- Unpleasant odor
- Painful sex
- Vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal discharge
- Burning during urination
A number of individuals with this condition do not show any symptoms. Consult your doctor when you experience vaginal infection symptoms.
What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
When micro-organisms in the vagina begin multiplying, bacterial vaginosis develops. Normally, there are some good bacteria in the vagina that mitigate the harmful bacteria. An infection can occur when this balance is disturbed. Also, infectious bacteria may enter the vagina during sex. Nevertheless, women who are not sexually active can also develop bacterial vaginosis.
The following are dietary tips for helping a case of bacterial vaginosis:
- A diet low in saturated fats: According to studies, consuming foods having a high fat content can result in bacterial vaginosis and can also make the condition worse. Saturated fats lower immunity and affect the vagina’s natural acidity, enabling the development of harmful bacteria. You should therefore avoid saturated fats like red meat, butter, full cream milk, lard, and biscuits. Monounsaturated fats have a minimal effect on the condition and its severity, whereas polyunsaturated fats do not have any effect.
- Vitamin E is good for your immune system, and people whose intake of this vitamin is sufficient via supplements or food have a reduced risk of getting infections. Vitamin E also guards against strokes and cardiovascular disease. Foods that contain vitamin E include spinach, avocado, broccoli, kiwi, and collards. You can also take supplements, but make sure you consult with your doctor first.
- Folate is also a vital component of your diet. It protects you from bacterial vaginosis and various other conditions. A high intake of folate helps in minimizing one's chances of getting cancer and heart disease. Folic acid is also an immune system booster. According to studies, women who have low levels of folate are more prone to bacterial vaginosis. Foods that contain folic acid include avocado, breakfast cereals, spinach, and asparagus.
- Go for whole grain bread instead of white bread.
- Take fruit juices like blueberry or cranberry juice since they restore the vagina's acidity.
- Stay away from foods with high sugar levels since they can worsen the infection.
Treating Yeast Infections
A fungus is what causes yeast infections. Approximately 75 percent of women will get a yeast infection at some point in their life.
Pregnant women, women using antibiotics, those suffering from diabetes, those using oral contraceptives, those with iron deficiencies, or those using corticosteroid medications are at risk of yeast infections.
Itchiness is the leading yeast infection symptom, although some women may not have any symptoms.
Other symptoms are a burning sensation and an abnormal white discharge that looks like cottage cheese.
Prevention of Yeast Infections
The methods of prevention for yeast infections are also the best natural methods for their treatment. According to studies, putting on tight-fitting undergarments increases the moisture and humidity in and immediately outside the vagina. This provides an environment conducive to yeast infections. To prevent this, opt for loose-fitting clothes made of natural, breathable materials like cotton.
Frequent intercourse also makes women more prone to yeast infections.
To minimize your risk for yeast infection, regularly consume yogurt that has live cultures of bacteria.
Doctors do not recommend self-diagnosis of yeast infections since a wrong diagnosis may result in the misuse or overuse of topical creams and other over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Visit your doctor to get the correct treatment if you suspect that you have a yeast infection.
If your doctor confirms you have a yeast infection, they may recommend oral medications, OTC treatments, suppositories, or antifungal creams.
Bacterial Vaginosis Remedies
Anti-bacterial medication is used to treat bacterial vaginosis. The usual antibiotics for vaginitis are in the form of ointments or creams. Oral antibiotic medicines may also be required. It is important that you finish the entire treatment course, since the infection may recur if you do not. After using antibiotics, some individuals may experience side effects. Sometimes, the antibiotics can lead to a yeast infection as well. The reason for this is that a majority of antibiotics eliminate both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Natural treatments and home remedies may be beneficial in such cases. Some home treatment options for vaginitis include:
- Yogurt is the leading home treatment for vaginal infection. Apply yogurt to the areas that are inflamed, or dip cotton plugs in yogurt and insert them into your vagina.
- Soak a clean cloth in cold water and put it on the affected part to relieve irritation, redness, and swelling. This method constricts the blood vessels as well as relieves discomfort.
- Soak a tea bag in water and put it in the refrigerator. Place it on your vagina to minimize itching.
- To cure bacterial vaginosis, use margosa powder.
- Turmeric and garlic are also effective in the treatment of vaginitis. Eat several garlic cloves each day.
- Fill a tub with hot water and add some salt and a few cedar oil drops. Soak in the water for a while to relieve redness, itching, and burning.
- Drink plenty of cranberry juice.
- Boil water, add a tablespoon of dried tracheal leaves and drink the liquid.
- Use anti-bacterial soap to wash undergarments
- Change your underwear regularly.
- Wipe starting from the front to the back since germs found in the rectum can easily go into your vagina.
- Make sure you clean your bathtub regularly.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothes since they prevent air circulation and form a good environment for bacteria to develop.
It is important to get screened for bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy since the infection can cause premature labor and other complications like uterus infection and amniotic sac infection.
Natural Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis During Pregnancy
There is no natural treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Caution should be taken since bacterial vaginosis can cause low birth weight in newborns, preterm births, late miscarriages, and preterm membrane rupture.
Treatment options for bacterial vaginosis include oral medications, sulfa creams, and suppositories. Metronidazole and clindamycin are the 7-day oral treatments.
Although sulfa creams and suppositories offer symptom relief for bacterial vaginosis, they do not prevent complications in pregnant women.
Visit your doctor if you suspect having bacterial vaginosis so you can receive the appropriate treatment.
Recommendation for Bacterial Vaginitis Prevention
To prevent bacterial vaginosis, do the following:
- Do not use hot tubs. Use soap and water to clean the genital area and dry it well afterward. Do not use perfumed soaps, tampons, or sanitary pads that are scented.
- To clean the vagina, bathing is enough. Do not douche since this disrupts the natural balance of bacteria and puts you at risk of infections.
- Use condoms when having sexual intercourse. Do not have many sexual partners.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol since these make you prone to many sicknesses like bacterial vaginosis.
- The methods of prevention for yeast infections are also the best natural methods for their treatment.
- Natural treatments and home remedies may be beneficial in bacterial vaginosis cases where an infection recurs after antibiotic use, since antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria.
- It is important to screen for bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy since the infection can cause premature labor and other complications like uterus infection and amniotic sac infection.