Vagina infections account for about 10 % of all women health visits to health-care practitioners. Let’s face it ladies, we want to know what’s happening down there and we want to know what the best way to prevent and avoid bacterial infections is!
Why Does It Happen?
Vaginitis is caused by an imbalance of the normal vaginal flora. As many of you may know just like how in our gut we have good bacteria and many other organisms, the vaginal tract is also lined with microorganisms (some good, some not so great). Many of the “not so great” bacteria that inhabit the vaginal tract are common inhabitants but problems arise when they begin to outcompete the good bacteria there.
General signs and symptoms include:
If left untreated, it could lead to serious complications such as:
Acute or chronic pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Chronic pelvic pain
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common cause of vaginal infections in women of reproductive age, and while more than 50% of women with BV may be asymptomatic,
it’s commonly diagnosed by the following:
Thin, frothy, gray, odorous discharge.
Vaginal pH greater than 4.5
A wet mount lab sample showing clue cells.
A positive Whiff test (fancy word for fish smelling vaginal odor when 10% potassium hydroxide is added to the discharge.)
How You Can Prevent It
Now you’re probably thinking, that’s all great to know, but what I can do is take a proactive approach in preventing it? Here are my top tips for preventing BV:
1. Safe sex! Safe sex! And more, safe sex!
The reasoning is that those little tiny but oh so mighty sperm, can actually alkalinize the vagina, which may deplete the vaginal tract from the “oh so wonderful” vaginal flora bacterial strain “Lactobacilli’ , this can leave the vaginal area more susceptible to BV.
2. Ditch the douche
Ladies, please put the vaginal douches aside and avoid using any products that claim they can clean your vagina (like feminine washes). Your vagina doesn't need any help! It’s self cleaning (Who knew right?!) Yes - women and their vaginas are so powerful!
3. Say goodbye to sugar
The occasional chocolate bar or burger can do wonders when you're having a bad day. But, foods with high sugar and carbs can impact your vaginal health. Avoid sugary foods, or food with refined carbohydrates and focus more on enriching your diet with greens, clean protein and healthy fats!
4. Switch to cotton
Use cotton, easy to breathe through underwear (I know fancy is nice ladies, but a bit of cotton can go a long way)
5. Scents don't make sense
I get it, periods can get smelly! But, artificial scents can be harmful for your vaginal health. Avoid any tampons or pads with scented lining and focus more on all organic cotton pads/ tampons.
The Bottom Line
Bacterial vaginosis can re-occur which is why it’s super important to be in tune with what your body is communicating with you but these small tips may help prevent it to begin with. Share the info with your favourite girlfriends, we’re in this together! Your body is a temple, respect it, love it and listen to it kindly.
Sending you all so much love,