Natural Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis

Are There Ways to Ease Symptoms Naturally?

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The most common type of vaginal infection among women of reproductive age, bacterial vaginosis is marked by a disruption in the vagina's normal balance of bacteria. Under normal conditions, the vagina contains mostly beneficial bacteria. But in cases of bacterial vaginosis, there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.

Natural Remedies for Vaginosis

To date, little is known about the use of alternative medicine in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis.

One of the few reports on using natural remedies in treatment of this condition, a 2009 research review suggests that probiotics may be of some benefit to patients with bacterial vaginosis. Looking at 24 studies involving a total of 4,422 women, investigators found that taking supplements of the probiotic lactobacillus, alongside the antibiotic metronidazole, appeared to increase metronidazole's effectiveness.

Naturally present in the vagina (as well as in the digestive tract), probiotics are beneficial bacteria that may help suppress the growth of harmful bacteria.

Find out more about using probiotics in my article Acidophilus & Other Probiotics. Also learn about using natural remedies in combination with antibiotic treatments.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb.

In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Causes of Vaginosis

Although the exact cause of bacterial vaginosis is unknown, the following are thought to disturb the vagina's bacterial balance and increase your risk of infection:

  • having a new sex partner
  • having multiple sex partners
  • douching

Use of an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control may also put you at risk.

Symptoms of Vaginosis

While some women with bacterial vaginosis may show no signs of infection, bacterial vaginosis symptoms often include a thin, milky vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor (often more noticeable after sexual intercourse). Some women also experience vaginal itching and/or burning.

Treatment for Vaginosis

Because bacterial vaginosis may lead to a number of complications (including increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and preterm labor and preterm birth), it's important to treat the infection as quickly as possible.

In treating bacterial vaginosis, healthcare providers typically prescribe an antibiotic (which helps restore a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina).

When treating bacterial vaginosis, it's important to use all of the medicine prescribed (even after all your symptoms subside).

Using Natural Remedies for Vaginosis

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend any natural remedy as a treatment for vaginosis. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using any form of alternative medicine, make sure to consult your physician prior to starting your supplement regimen.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2006. MMWR 2006: 55 (No. RR-11).

Oduyebo OO, Anorlu RI, Ogunsola FT. "The effects of antimicrobial therapy on bacterial vaginosis in non-pregnant women." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 8;(3):CD006055.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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