Bacterial Vaginosis Day - 16/4/15!

Kerry Beeson BSc (Nut. Med.) Nutritional Therapist

If you are blissfully unaware of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), then lucky you! Some women with this condition do not experience any symptoms, but for many women, BV is an unpleasant condition that can dominate their daily lives, in particular their love lives.

Female torso
Vaginal infection - an invisible burden for up to one in three women

BV is a vaginal condition that creates a grey and watery discharge, which can smell unpleasant. 

Despite the fact that 1 in 3 women are affected, BV and other similar conditions can be a taboo subject, particularly as the discharge can worsen after sexual intercourse, wrongly giving the impression that it is a sexually transmitted disease.

National BV Day, which is on Thursday 16th April this year, is hoping to raise awareness of the condition and to bring this and other female intimate health issues out of the closet and into our conversation!

So what causes BV?

In short, BV is simply caused by vaginal dysbiosis - an imbalance of the delicate flora resident in the intimate areas. The vaginal microbiome can become unbalanced for a variety of reasons:

  • Sexual activity
  • If you use an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Smoking
  • The use of scented soaps, antiseptic bath liquids or bubble bath or vaginal deodorant
  • Douching or flushing the the vagina with water or other fluids
  • The use of strong washing detergents when washing underwear
Woman in bath
Scented soaps, antiseptic bath liquids or bubble bath can unbalance the delicate intimate flora
 

How can we rebalance our vaginal flora?

Supplementing with beneficial bacteria is thought to help rebalance the intestinal flora but recent research has indicated that certain strains, Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1®, travel through the digestive system, cross the perineum and colonise directly in the female genito-urethral area. To read more about the research using these strains, healthcare practitioners can visit the entries for Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® on the Probiotics Database

Both of these strains are contained in OptiBac 'For women'

OptiBac 'For women'

These bacteria hail from a genus which is so named Lactobacillus as they are known to produce synthesise sugars (in this case glycogen) to produce lactic acid. Healthcare professionals can read more about the Lactobacillus genus over on the Probiotics Database. Lactic acid lowers the pH of the vaginal area to further encourage the growth of good bacteria and discourage the bad bacteria that cause the unpleasant odour, abnormal discharge and inflammation.

For further reading about female intimate health, click on the following links:

All about your vaginal flora

Reference:Image1: www.yourtango.com

Image2: www.beautyden.com

References: 1) Mastromarino et al, 2009. 2) Anukam et al, 2006. Augmentation of antimicrobial met*******ole therapy of bacterial vaginosis with oral probioticLactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14