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The Flourishing Flora of Your Flower

Georgia O’Keefe was right when she likened the vagina to a flower; not just in the sense that they’re all unique and beautiful, but because they also require some pretty specific conditions.

So, what happens when those conditions disrupt your lovely lily? The answer, for many women, is bacterial vaginosis.

What is BV?

Bacterial vaginitis (BV) isn’t, as many women think, an infection with a specific bacteria or yeast. BV refers to an imbalance in the vagina’s own bacterial communities. When beneficial organisms aren’t as robust, it can lead to an overgrowth of the less-than-desirable bacteria in the vagina (Peptostreptococcus species, Eubacterium species, Mobiluncus species, Gardnerella, and Mycoplasma hominis, Gardnerella vaginalis, to name just a few!).

Common symptoms include:

• A white vaginal discharge that covers the walls of the vagina
• Vaginal discharge with a foul or fishy odor
• Vaginal pain or itching
• Burning while urinating

An imbalance between good/healthy bacteria and bad/unhealthy bacteria is the cause for the inflammation that causes this condition. Several factors can make a female more prone to its development such as:

Gut dysbiosis
High sugar diet, alcohol consumption, or poorly controlled blood sugar
Exposure to synthetic chemicals/fragrances that upset beneficial bacteria or vaginal pH
• Repeated antibiotic use
Changes in the vaginal pH that can happen with age
• Changes in the vaginal pH as a result of exposure to semen or saliva (women in heterosexual and same-sex relationships are therefore both susceptible and can ‘ping-pong’ the infection between partners).

How Is It Treated?

Currently BV is treated in isolation - using an antibiotic cream to remove the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Metronidazole has an 80 percent cure rate within 4 weeks, but the recurrence rate is disproportionately high: 15 to 50 percent of women who treat BV with metronidazole experience a return of symptoms within 3 months! Antibiotics also remove the healthy bacteria important for vaginal health. We want that vaginal flora to flourish in all the right ways, so that your lady garden can maintain the right pH and you can be BV free.

What About Probiotics?

Alternative non-antibiotic options such as probiotic products containing lactobacilli, lactic acid, sucrose gel, and combination products with estriol, are starting to get more attention. This is because they are able to target the problem without annihilating the good bacteria.

Estriol in the Silky Peach Cream is definitely part of the process - along with getting the right bacteria in place and making sure the inner sanctum has the right pH to allow the right bacteria to grow. The key to clearing up BV for good is to get to the root cause. If BV has been a naggingly persistent issue, a naturopathic practitioner or homeopathic practitioner will have some good ideas on ways to discover and heal the root cause.

What success (or troubles) have you had with BV? We always love to hear from you as we try to save the world, one vagina at a time!