5 Ways to Help Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis

June 8, 2020
Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection that develops from a growth of bacteria. Although antibiotics can treat and cure it, there are some natural ways you can help relieve and prevent bacterial vaginosis.

To treat bacterial vaginosis, your doctor may prescribe some antibiotics, either in pill or cream form. However, there are other ways to treat and prevent bacterial vaginosis. Keep reading to find out more about how to deal with this condition.

Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal infection that develops from an overgrowth of bacteria in the intimate area. In its natural state, the vagina has a bacterial flora that protects it against harmful microorganisms. However, when its pH is altered, bacteria grow and infection occurs.

As a consequence, uncomfortable symptoms are triggered, such as heavy and thick discharge, bad odor, and itching in the intimate area. Most studies blame the use of douches, the use of scented products, unprotected sex, and the use of certain medications. So, what can you do to manage or prevent bacterial vaginosis?

Ways to care for and prevent bacterial vaginosis

Mild cases of bacterial vaginosis pass asymptomatically and disappear without the need for treatment. However, when it causes discomfort and symptoms, the doctor may suggest antibiotic medications such as metronidazole, tinidazole, or clindamycin for topical use.

Now, in addition to medications, there are other ways to treat bacterial vaginosis at home. These are simple strategies that help block the growth of harmful bacteria, favoring the regulation of vaginal pH.

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1. Consume plain yogurt to prevent bacterial vaginosis

Woman eating a yogurt.
The consumption of probiotics is beneficial to restore normal bacteria and you can do it by eating foods such as yogurt.

Plain yogurt with probiotics is a very beneficial food for treating bacterial vaginosis. Thanks to living cultures in yogurt, it helps restore normal vaginal flora. In turn, it strengthens the functions of the immune system and improves the response against pathogens.

To get these benefits, make sure you eat at least one serving of yogurt a day. Optionally, apply a small amount of yogurt to the outside of the vagina.

2. Take probiotics

Plain yogurt is an important source of probiotics. However, there are many other suitable options when treating bacterial vaginosis. According to research conducted in 2014, taking probiotic supplements daily can cope with vaginal infections.

Probiotics can be purchased in a wide range of types of products. There are even products with naturally-derived probiotics that come from fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, or kombucha, among others.

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3. Use breathable cotton clothing

A woman in underwear.

Breathable cotton clothing prevents moisture in the intimate area that can trigger infections.

There are some undergarments made from materials that aren’t as breathable as cotton. Spandex underwear and other synthetic fabrics can trap moisture and create an ideal environment for bacteria to grow.

So, to help speed up recovery from bacterial vaginosis and prevent future infections, it’s best to make sure you wear breathable cotton underwear. Also, it’s important to avoid wearing trousers that are too tight.

4. Practice good hygiene

Practicing good intimate hygiene habits are key when it comes to preventing and treating bacterial vaginosis.

Although many overlook it, the anal and vaginal areas are very close in proximity. Therefore, bacteria from the rectum often pass into the vagina. Because of this, it’s important to adhere to the following tips to treat or prevent bacterial vaginosis:

  • You should always clean from front to back after using the bathroom.
  • You should also make sure to change tampons and pads several times a day during the menstrual period.
  • If you’re using sex toys, they must be cleaned very well with soap and hot water, before and after use.
  • When having sex, it’s best to use a condom.

5. Wash your hands before touching the intimate area

Soapy hands under running water from a tap.

The hygiene of the intimate area and our hands, before and after coming into contact, will prevent possible reinfections.

Although constant hand washing is part of good hygiene practices, it’s essential to point this out especially. Why? Most women don’t wash their hands before having contact with their intimate area. However, they almost always do afterwards.

In any case, it’s important to wash your hands vigorously before and after having any contact with the vagina. Hands come in contact with many surfaces and bacteria. Therefore, touching intimate parts without prior washing can cause or worsen bacterial vaginosis.

  • Make sure you wash your hands well before going to the bathroom or have any contact with your intimate area. Try to wash your hands with antibacterial soap for even greater safety.

Do you notice abnormalities in your vaginal discharge? Do you notice an unpleasant smell in your intimate area? It’s possible that you could have bacterial vaginosis. Apply the above tips to help increase the effectiveness of your treatment.

If you don’t notice an improvement after a short time, see your doctor or gynecologist.

  • Rosca, A., & Cerca, N. (2018). Bacterial vaginosis. In Diagnostics to Pathogenomics of Sexually Transmitted Infections. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119380924
  • Senok, A. C., Verstraelen, H., Temmerman, M., & Botta, G. A. (2009). Probiotics for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD006289.pub2
  • Neri, A., Sabah, G., & Samra, Z. (1993). Bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy treated with yoghurt. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. https://doi.org/10.3109/00016349309013342
  • Homayouni, A., Bastani, P., Ziyadi, S., Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi, S., Ghalibaf, M., Mortazavian, A. M., & Mehrabany, E. V. (2014). Effects of probiotics on the recurrence of bacterial vaginosis: A review. Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease. https://doi.org/10.1097/LGT.0b013e31829156ec
  • Wilson, J. (2004). Managing recurrent bacterial vaginosis. Sexually Transmitted Infections. https://doi.org/10.1136/sti.2002.002733