Bacterial vaginitis is an inflammation of the genitourinary tract (GIT) of a woman; about 10% of women around the world are affected by this condition. Vaginitis is characterized by a thick, white, foul smelling discharge from vagina.
Symptoms of Vaginitis:
- Itching in the vagina
- Pain or burning while urinating or during intercourse
- The lips outside the vagina, vulva are reddened
- Vaginal discharge which is thick or heavy and white or greyish in color
- Foul and unpleasant smell from the discharge
- If the discharge is thin with streaks of blood, it is indicative of atrophic vaginitis
Causes of Vaginitis:
- The usual causes are various species of yeast, most commonly Candida albicans, Trichomonas vaginalis, and the bacterium Gardnerella vaginalis, which grows in oxygen-free conditions.
- Douching which can upset the acid-alkaline balance.
- Oral contraceptives change the vagina’s acid-alkaline balance, which can foster the growth of yeast and bacteria.
- Hormonal changes that are brought about by pregnancy, diabetes, or menopause increases the woman’s vulnerability to vaginitis. In menopausal women, low estrogen levels cause the vaginal walls to become thin, dry, and susceptible to abrasions that allow germs to enter.
- Women are particularly vulnerable to vaginitis when taking antibiotics for infections in other parts of the body.
How to Prevent Vaginitis:
- Changing the form of contraception may reduce the risk of vaginitis.
- Women should avoid-tight-fitting clothing that allows heat and moisture to buildup in the vaginal area, encouraging yeast and bacterial growth. They should wear white cotton underwear and panty hose with cotton crotches.
- After vigorous exercise or swimming change into dry clothing immediately.
- Use a mild and fragrance free feminine wash. Feminine hygiene sprays and commercial douches can irritate the vaginal mucous membrane.
- Wear cotton underwear, as they will soak the sweat from the vaginal area and help in keeping the area dry.
- After using the toilet wash and dry your private area from front to back. Use a white facial tissue.
- After a sexual intercourse wash the vaginal area properly and dry it with white facial tissue.
- Yogurt. Many women claim that eating a daily portion of yogurt with active cultures prevents vaginitis.
- Garlic. It’s also claimed that allicin, an antibiotic in garlic helps to stop yeast infections by blocking growth of the organisms. The protective effect may be obtained by eating raw garlic or taking garlic pills that contain allicin.
- Cranberry juice protects against urinary tract infections; drinking it may prevent bacterial vaginitis from spreading to the bladder.
- Vitamin A rich foods are necessary to keep mucous membranes and skin healthy and resistance to infections. Green and deep yellow vegetables and deep yellow and orange fruits are high in vitamin A.
- Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils may reduce inflammation due to vaginitis; two or three servings of fish a week provide ample omega-3 fatty acids.
- B vitamin, magnesium and zinc. Fortified grains and cereals, poultry and seafood, potatoes, nuts, and seeds all provide the B vitamins, magnesium and zinc that can strengthen the immune system.
Natural Treatments for Vaginitis:
- Malunggay Leaves Tea or Guava Leaves Tea are both natural antibiotics that can help strengthen the immune system.
- Yogurt. Taking bowlful of yogurt daily is recommended till the condition disappears. If you dislike yogurt probiotic supplement can also help.
- Aloe Vera. Drink 2-4 ounces of aloe gel 2x a day before meal. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties; it can also repairs damaged tissue from inside and out.
- Organic apple cider vinegar with mother is another great natural remedy for vaginitis. Begin each morning with 2 teaspoons in eight ounces of water; you may also drink this before going to sleep.
- Cranberry juice is another popular remedy for vaginitis. Drink this juice on a daily basis until infection is cured.
Note: Using a vaginal lubricant during sexual intercourse protects tissues from abrasion and reduces the risk of infection.