Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal infection that keeps coming back. Know ways to stop bacterial vaginosis from coming back.

Bacterial vaginosis or BV is a vaginal infection that mostly affects women during their reproductive phase. It is common among women who are sexually active. If you have bacterial vaginosis, you will notice fish-like odour down there and greyish vaginal discharge. Routine gynaecological check-ups can catch BV early, setting you off for timely treatment. But the infection tends to come back. To stop bacterial vaginosis from coming back, you need to take the right preventive measures.

What is bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal infection resulting from an imbalance in the natural bacteria present in the vagina. It occurs when harmful bacteria outnumber beneficial ones, says gynaecologist Dr Anita Singla. It is common among sexually active women, but it is not a sexually transmitted infection.

Woman holding a rose
Vaginal douching may cause vaginal infection. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the causes of bacterial vaginosis?

The exact cause of this vaginal infection is unclear, but it often involves a disruption in the balance of bacteria, with a decrease in beneficial Lactobacillus species and an increase in harmful bacteria like Gardnerella vaginalis. Multiple sexual partners, vaginal douching, and antibiotic use are potential contributors, the expert tells Health Shots.

What are the signs of bacterial vaginosis?

Many affected women may not exhibit any noticeable symptoms, but some may spot these signs –

  • Thin, greyish-white vaginal discharge
  • Distinct fishy vaginal odour, especially noticeable after sex
  • Vaginal itching or irritation.

How to stop recurrent bacterial vaginosis?

According to a 2020 research published in the Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey journal, 15 percent to 50 percent of women in the reproductive stage have bacterial vaginosis. They were treated with an antibiotic agent, but within three months after the treatment, it was found that the infection came back in 20 percent to 75 percent of women. Here are some ways to stop bacterial vaginosis from coming back:

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1. Maintain good intimate hygiene

Clean genital areas thoroughly, especially after using the restroom. Good hygiene habits should not be restricted to your private parts. You need to practice regular handwashing with soap and water as well.

2. Safe sex practices

Make use of condoms consistently whenever you engage in a sexual activity. Also, limit the number of sexual partners to reduce the risk, says Dr Singla.

3. Avoid vaginal douching

Douching is not good for your vaginal health. It can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, increasing the risk of infections, so avoid it.

4. Choose cotton underwear

Different kinds of fabrics are used to make underwear. But wear breathable cotton underwear to allow air circulation and reduce moisture. These will help to create an unfavourable environment for bacteria.

Woman having pain in private area.
Have probiotics to prevent recurrent bacterial vaginosis. Image courtesy: Freepik

5. Probiotics

Consume foods rich in probiotics like yogurt. You can even take probiotic supplements to support a healthy balance of bacteria in your body, says the expert. Regular intake of probiotics containing Lactobacillus strains may help restore vaginal bacterial balance.

6. Regular gynaecological check-ups

Schedule routine visits with your gynaecologist for pelvic exams and screenings. These can detect and any potential issues related to vaginal health early.

7. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is good for overall health, including your vagina. It will help to flush out toxins and maintain your bodily health.

8. Be cautious with antibiotics

Antibiotics may lead to an imbalance of beneficial and harmful bacteria that live in the vagina. So, only use antibiotics when prescribed by a doctor, and follow the prescribed course to prevent antibiotic, says the expert.

9. Maintain a healthy diet

Eat a balanced diet that is full of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Eating well will help to support overall immune system function.

These strategies can contribute to prevent recurrent bacterial vaginosis.

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