Strange Odor Down Below? What You Need to Know About BV

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) can easily be confused with yeast infections or sexually transmitted diseases. Or you may not be aware you have it at all. About 30†percent†of women have BV in the US at any moment. And 84†percent†of those women donít have any symptoms. Hereís what you need to know about BV.

What is BV?

Similar to how our small and large intestines are lined with bacteria, our vagina houses colonies of bacteria as well. When your normal bacterial flora gets out of balance and unwanted bacteria take over then you†have signs and symptoms of bacterial vaginosis.

Women experience a range of symptoms, while others donít have any symptoms. Hereís what you can expect:

  • A change in your vaginal discharge to thin white or gray
  • Strong odor that smells fishy or sour
  • Pain, itching or burning either inside or around the vagina
  • Burning when you pee

These symptoms are very similar to a yeast infection so itís best not to self-diagnose but instead visit the doctor.

How do you get it?

BV occurs primarily in women of childbearing age (15-44 years old). Itís not completely clear how women get BV, but since we know that BV is an imbalance in bacteria, doctors believe that any disruption in that bacteria can cause BV. For instance, multiple sex partners or frequent douching can disturb this delicate balance.

Donít worry: itís not an STD. But doctors believe it does make one more prone to contracting STDs, primarily on the grounds that you might be having sex with multiple partners. Also, you canít get it from swimming pools, toilet seats or bedding.

How to avoid it

Take care of your vaginal ecosystem the same way youíd care for the bacterial flora in your gut. And if you douche regularly, then itís certainly time to stop. Douching has long been marketed as a great method for keeping yourself clean and fresh. It may keep you smelling good, but it eliminates all your good bacteria, making you ripe for infestation from bad bacteria that cause BV.

In a similar vein, avoid perfumed soaps or any soap when washing between your legs. Any kind of soap can wrongly disturb this ecosystem. Instead, use only water to rinse the area. A natural musty odor is normal and can be expected.

What to do if you have BV

1. †Visit your doctor

Always see your doctor first. You need to figure out whether you have a yeast infection or BV. Once youíve determined that you do have BV then you can decide which approach youíd like to take. Your doctor will suggest antibiotics, which is a viable option. But there are also alternatives to medication (or in addition to).

Related: 4 Natural Antibiotics

2. Tea tree oil

A small study showed tea tree oil to be effective in completely relieving BV. Be careful with this essential oil because it can hurt tender skin if not used properly. And always make sure youíre not allergic prior to use.

So whatís the best way to use tea tree oil? Dilute the oil in a carrier oil, like coconut oil, and douse a tampon with the mixture. Wear the tampon for an hour and then remove it. This can be repeated a few times per day. Similarly, you can find tea tree oil vaginal suppositories online.

3. Probiotics

Daily probiotic supplementation has been found to be effective in treating and preventing BV. Just as probiotics support your intestines, they also support your vaginal ecosystem. But if taking probiotics alone doesnít alleviate or relieve your symptoms, then you can try an alternative approach: insert probiotics into your vaginal canal.

Before bed, take a capsule of womenís probiotics, lightly moisten the capsule, and insert it deep into the vagina. Or you can open the capsule, moisten the powder, and use a tampon or spoon to help insert the probiotics. Do this In addition to oral probiotics and youíll soon have a thriving vagina.

4. Diet

Itís no doubt that what you eat matters. If youíre eating too many carbs and sugary foods, then youíre creating an environment that yeast and bacteria love. Drop the sugar, carbs and processed foods in favor of fresh, whole foods to support optimal vaginal health.

Final Thoughts

BV isnít widely talked about, but it affects many women. Caring for yourself is the number one preventative. And if you currently have BV, then after a visit with your doctor, you can decide the best plan for yourself. And hopefully, you can prevent recurrences and stay healthy going forward.

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130 comments

Sandra Vito
Sandra Vito11 days ago

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W. C
W. C11 days ago

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William C
William C12 days ago

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Ian Crory
Ian Crory12 days ago

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Julia S
Julia S13 days ago

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Lisa Zarafonetis
Lisa Zarafonetis14 days ago

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Marion Morin
Marion Morin16 days ago

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi D20 days ago

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donald Baumgartner

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Peggy B
Peggy B20 days ago

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