Is BV Treatment at Home Possible? – Plus Home Remedies for BV

Roma Kunde
Roma Kunde
May 27, 2023
7
min read
Technically reviewed by: 
Charisse Cartin
Is BV Treatment at Home Possible? – Plus Home Remedies for BV

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common condition causing vaginal symptoms among women. According to CDC (the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), around 21.2 million (29.2%) women between the ages of 14 and 49 in the United States have experienced BV.

Although most women with BV (around 84%) don't display any symptoms, the most common symptoms in other cases include a fishy vaginal odor, itching, burning, and greyish vaginal discharge.

BV is mainly caused by an imbalance in the growth of good and bad bacteria in your vagina. The usual treatment for BV is taking antibiotics like metronidazole, tinidazole, and clindamycin for 5 to 7 days.

In this article, we'll share some science-based home remedies for BV. Read on to discover everything you need to know about BV treatment at home.

How to Treat BV at Home

Learn about how to get rid of BV without antibiotics below.

Probiotics

Research shows that taking probiotic supplements or consuming probiotic-rich foods can help prevent or treat BV.

Common oral probiotics include yogurt and fermented foods like kimchi, cottage cheese, and kefir. Probiotics can help your body produce the beneficial bacteria (lactobacilli) that can suppress the bad bacteria responsible for BV, thus maintaining the ideal microbial balance in your vagina.

Hydrogen Peroxide

One study examined the use of hydrogen peroxide solution as a vaginal wash for individuals experiencing recurring infections. According to the results, 78% of the study participants (21 out of 23) either completely recovered or saw an improvement in their symptoms when a 3% diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide was instilled into the vagina, left for 3 minutes and drained.

It is essential to use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to avoid any complications. The study recommends a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide, which you could use to treat BV symptoms like vaginal odor and discharge and restore your acidic vaginal pH.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. According to research, the bacteria that cause BV may be susceptible to treatment with tea tree oil products (proven in lab environments). The research further demonstrated that the beneficial bacteria, lactobacilli, was resistant to tea tree oil, which is a positive sign. While there is plenty of anecdotal experience on tea tree oil's efficacy in resolving BV symptoms, clinical peer-reviewed evidence is lacking. If you choose to use tea tree oil, use it with caution, as it is an essential oil that is potent and, therefore, must be diluted. Also, it can produce allergic reactions and isn't suitable for use by pregnant women.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is a very popular remedy to restore vaginal pH balance and fight harmful bacteria. It is readily available as over-the-counter vaginal suppositories. (Boric acid is considered toxic when taken orally.) According to a recent study, boric acid suppositories, in combination with oral antibiotics, are highly effective in treating and preventing recurrent BV. However, you may need to speak to your doctor about what antibiotics to take to cure BV completely.

Garlic

Many compounds in garlic have been discovered to have antibacterial properties. In fact, a 2014 study showed that the therapeutic effect of garlic may be as potent as the oral antibiotic metronidazole. However, it isn't recommended to insert garlic into your vagina directly. Instead, incorporate this ingredient in your cooking or consume garlic supplements regularly. Garlic is also a very effective at-home remedy to ward off urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Herbs

Many plants and herbs have strong medicinal properties and are often used in traditional medicine disciplines. According to a study conducted on 80 women, a vaginal ointment/cream made from the extract of pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) was as effective as antibiotics in treating BV.  The study formed two groups of 40 participants each. One group was treated with pot marigold extract, while the second group was treated with metronidazole. This could be an effective remedy for individuals not comfortable taking synthetic pharmacological drugs are experience side effects with antibiotics.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Anecdotal evidence suggests that you could mix apple cider vinegar in your bath or use it as douche for curing BV and other vaginal infections. However, these claims are yet to be thoroughly researched. Also, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Douching is not recommended if your vaginal pH is balanced.

You should be careful before introducing any foreign object into your body. Seek professional guidance to determine which remedy will best work for you.

Incorporating apple cider vinegar and herbs into your diet can help boost your immune system and protect against harmful bacteria and fungi.
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As they say, prevention is always better than cure. So, here are some tips for preventing BV.

How to Prevent BV

You can reduce the risk of infections by maintaining good hygiene practices, balanced diet and by avoiding scented products.
  • Opt for breathable, moisture-wicking cotton underwear because bacteria are more likely to grow in moist and damp environments. Inner garments made from absorbent materials can keep your genital area dry and prevent unwanted bacterial growth and infections.
  • Avoid the use of strongly scented feminine hygiene products, soaps, and bubble baths, as they can cause vaginal irritation and through off your pH balance. Maintain good feminine hygiene, such as wiping down your genital area from front to back after every bathroom use.
  • Although BV is not a sexually transmitted disease, practicing safe sex and limiting the number of sexual partners can minimize the occurrence of BV.
  • Use barrier protection like condoms and urinate and wash your vagina after sexual intercourse.
  • Avoid douching, as it can affect the normal bacterial growth and pH balance of your vagina.
  • Always wash your hands before touching your vagina.

Refer to this blog for tips to restore vaginal pH balance.

Diagnose BV at Home by Tests

You can now test for BV symptoms in the privacy and convenience of your home. We recommend Vaginox — a quick, affordable, and dependable way to test for vaginal infections. At-home tests are simple to use and require you to take a sample of vaginal secretion for testing. The swabs and other materials needed for testing come in an over-the-counter, all-inclusive convenient kit.

This test can measure the pH of your vaginal fluids, which determines your vaginal balance. You can check your results using a provided color reference chart. A change in the normal acidic pH of your vagina can suggest BV or other vaginal infections, even if you're asymptomatic. Timely intervention could help you get better today and prevent your condition from worsening.

For more useful information and interesting tips like this, check out our blogs.

References
  1. CDC Staff, "Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Statistics," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Available Online, https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stats.htm [Accessed May 03, 2023].
  2. Z. Wang, Y. He, and Y. Zheng, Probiotics for the Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis: A Meta-Analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. vol. 16, no. 20, 2019. [Online]. Available: National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6848925/. [Accessed May 03, 2023].
  3. S. J. Winceslaus, G. Calver, Recurrent bacterial vaginosis--an old approach to a new problem. Int J STD AIDS. vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 284-287, 1996. [Online]. Available: National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8876361/. [Accessed May 03, 2023].
  4. K. A. Hammer, C. F. Carson, T. V. Riley, In Vitro Susceptibilities of Lactobacilli and Organisms Associated with Bacterial Vaginosis to Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. vol. 43, no. 1, 1999. [Online]. Available: National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC89050/. [Accessed May 03, 2023].
  5. S. Surapaneni, R. Akins, J. D. Sobel, Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis: An Unmet Therapeutic Challenge. Experience With a Combination Pharmacotherapy Long-Term Suppressive Regimen. Sex Transm Dis. vol. 48, no. 10, pp. 761-765, 2021. [Online]. Available: National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8460079/. [Accessed May 03, 2023].
  6. F. Mohammadzadeh, M. Dolatian, M. Jorjani, H. Alavi Majd, N. Borumandnia, Comparing the Therapeutic Effects of Garlic Tablet and Oral Metronidazole on Bacterial Vaginosis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Iran Red Crescent Med J. vol. 16, no. 7, 2014. [Online]. Available: National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166107/. [Accessed May 03, 2023].
  7. Z. Pazhohideh, S. Mohammadi, N. Bahrami, F. Mojab, P. Abedi, E. Maraghi, The effect of Calendula officinalis versus metronidazole on bacterial vaginosis in women: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 15-19, 2018. [Online]. Available: National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801581/. [Accessed May 03, 2023].
  8. J. Bilardi, S. Walker, R. McNair, J. Mooney-Somers, M. Temple-Smith, C. Bellhouse, C. Fairley, M. Chen, & C. Bradshaw, Women's Management of Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis and Experiences of Clinical Care: A Qualitative Study. PLoS One, vol. 11, no. 3, 2016. [Online]. Available: National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4807032/. [Accessed May 03, 2023].

About the Author
Roma Kunde

Roma Kunde is a freelance content writer with a biotechnology and medical background. She has completed her B. Tech in Biotechnology and has a certificate in Clinical Research. She has 6 years of writing and editing experience in fields such as biomedical research, food/lifestyle, website content, marketing, and NGO services. She has written blog articles for websites related to construction chemicals, current affairs, marketing, medicine, and cosmetics.

About the Reviewer
This blog was
Technically reviewed by: 
Charisse Cartin

Charisse Cartin is a talented and dedicated editor who has contributed significantly to this blog.

The blog was also reviewed by the Diagnox content team. Diagnox Staff consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, content writers, and healthcare professionals with an expertise to create and review high-quality, informative, accurate, and easy-to-understand content for both professionals and everyday readers. Our staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the credibility and authenticity of the information, reviewing them independently and verifying them by various scientific and technical sources to ensure accuracy. Our review team believes in delivering knowledge free from bias to improve public health and well-being.

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