Well… to answer my own question and to start off this blog I’d have to say that women are afraid to talk about bacterial vaginosis for the same reasons that women are afraid to talk about many other things: society brainwashes us into thinking that we must remain silent about many topics that we should be speaking fluidly about.
I wanted to take the time out to discuss this topic because as always when I become informed I like to make sure those around me and anyone listening to me is well informed as well. To start off I am a 25 almost 26 year old woman living in one of the fastest moving cities in the world during an information overload generation where technology has made it possible to literally find anything at anytime in any moment. So I blame my ignorance of the subject on myself.
Women’s Health: Why We’re Afraid To Talk About Bacterial Vaginosis
I first became aware of the condition when my friend randomly mentioned back in January that she wasn’t too fond of the odor coming from down there and made the wise conscious decision to head to a gynecologist immediately. She was told its condition that happens, gave her a round of antibiotics and sent her on her way no questions asked. Fast forward a month later I was faced with a similar situation and decided to be just as responsible as my friend. I headed to the gynecologist, had the same diagnosis, and received the same treatment. My doctor told me it was just a condition that occurs, take this round of antibiotics and you would be good to go after 5 days. I shrugged my shoulders, took the prescription, and figured I’d be done with this in 5 days just like my friend was a month prior.
Unfortunately I wasn’t that lucky. I wasn’t aware that this type of condition could just come back without warning as quickly as your round of antibiotics was done. Which is what occurred in my situation. I became frustrated and confused and thought it was something that I did incorrectly. It was then I started doing some research of my own on the condition and found out where Bacterial Vaginosis stemmed from and the different effects it can cause on the woman’s body. The worst part was finding that doctors didn’t have the answers to curing the infection, besides relying on antibiotics to temporarily solve the true underlying cause. It was then I took my own health into my own hands along with help of my doctor instead of just relying on medications that could be causing more harm then good.
I returned to my gynecologist and had him further explain the reoccurring condition I was experiencing to further confirm what I recently learned after doing my own research. He prescribed another round of antibiotics for 7 days instead of 5, but this time I was armed with a little more preparation to battle this condition. Instead of simply taking the antibiotic alone, I began taking a pro biotic specifically formulated to rebuild the vaginal flora which is what is being attacked by the infection. Besides the probiotic I also began taking folic acid, and changed my diet greatly. Why? Because bacterial vaginosis is an infection that is caused by a pH imbalance and your diet can play a big part in that imbalance of there is a presence of too much sugar and other things as well. Vaginosis can often be misdiagnosed and mistreated as a Yeast Infection which is why it is so important to go to your gynecologist to get properly examined and diagnosed.
For the past two months I have been vaginosis free, and have slowly weened off of the probiotic as to not create a dependency on the probiotic’s presence and start creating my own presence of probiotics through the healthier foods I was choosing to incorporate. I initially began by taking 4 pills a day (2 in the morning and 2 at night before bed), I then dropped down to two pills a day, then one a day, and I now only take the probiotic three times a week. Below I have listed the known causes and symptoms to look out for when trying to figure out if you may be experiencing vaginosis, as well as some holistic and medical treatments to help cure, or calm down the symptoms you may be experiencing. (*Note: I have only tried the probiotic and ACV approach therefore I can not vouch for the effectiveness of the other treatments listed)
-Having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners
-Using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control
=Not using a condom
*Though it is more common for women who are sexually active to contract BV it is possible to contract it without being sexually active as well. Which means it is not proven that it is something that you can catch from someone else. Hence why it is not labeled as an STD.
MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS
-Abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor.
-Strong fish-like odor, especially after sex.
-Discharge (can be white/milky or gray) It may also be foamy or watery.
-Burning when urinating
-Itching around the outside of the vagina and irritation.
-Antibiotic medicines prescribed by your doctor. (either metronidazole or clindamycin)
-Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses to rebalance your Ph/ vaginal bacteria
-Probiotics that focus on vaginal flora repair (Fem Dophilus was the one I used)
-Natural Probiotics found in Yogurt
-Tea Tree Oil
As always different things work differently for different people, so as always I suggest you do your research and test out what will work best for you and your health needs. But most importantly I suggest to speak up. Don’t just accept what your doctor says (though his or her opinion is obviously valid and required). You need to vocalize your needs and your discomfort even if it starts out with a group of your friends. Silence will get you no where! Stay healthy ladies!