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Diet for Bacterial Vaginosis

by
author image Judith Eldredge
Judith Eldredge is a board-certified sexologist with a master's degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. She has been teaching people about sex and helping them realize their erotic potential since 2003.
Diet for Bacterial Vaginosis
Antibiotics are typically prescribed for BV. Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Bacterial vaginosis describes a type of vaginitis that produces a redness or swelling of the vagina often accompanied by discomfort, vaginal discharge and itching. A healthy vagina contains several different types of bacteria. Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, results when normally occurring bacteria proliferate. BV may cause a fishy smell, especially after sex. Antibiotics are typically prescribed for BV, but dietary changes may also be necessary in order to prevent it from becoming a chronic condition.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Diet for Bacterial Vaginosis
Yogurt can be a good source of lactobacillus acidophilus. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Bacterial vaginosis stems from an imbalance in the vaginal ecosystem. Eating foods that contain lactobacilli may bring the vaginal ecosystem back to a healthy and balanced state. In “The Health Professional’s Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements,” authors Shawn M. Talbott and Kerry Hughes note that lactobacillus acidophilus, or LA, is a healthy bacteria; the consumption of foods with LA has been linked to lower rates of BV. Yogurt, kefir and acidophilus milk are all potential sources of LA.

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Garlic

Diet for Bacterial Vaginosis
Garlic features natural antibiotic properties. Photo Credit Burke/Triolo Productions/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Garlic contains natural antibiotic properties and for this reason is recommended to anyone who is prone to bacterial vaginosis. Jean Carper, author of “Food Your Miracle Medicine: Preventing and Curing Common Health Problems the Natural Way” maintains that garlic is effective on a wide range of bacteria. Garlic is recommended as a vaginal suppository and is also effective when eaten.

Foods to Avoid

Diet for Bacterial Vaginosis
Women prone to bacterial vaginosis are advised to avoid coffee and sugar. Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

In “The Gynecological Sourcebook,” M. Sara Rosenthal, Ph.D., explains that diet can play an important role in the management of bacterial vaginosis. Rosenthal emphasizes avoiding sugar. The authors of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” say consuming sugar can lead to a vaginal environment that encourages the growth of bacteria. It is also advisable to avoid caffeine, alcohol, foods that include mold, fermented foods, processed foods and those high in carbohydrate.

Foods to Favor

Diet for Bacterial Vaginosis
A diet rich in fresh, organic produce is recommended. Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

A healthy diet leads to a stronger immune system and decreases the likelihood of contracting bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial-Vaginosis.com maintains that a diet high in flaxseed products, whole grains fresh organic produce, fish, meat and poultry, and an abundance of water benefits any woman hoping to avoid a recurrence of bacterial vaginosis.

Herbs

Diet for Bacterial Vaginosis
Drinking tea made from echinacea may help avoid bacterial vaginosis Photo Credit Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, author of “Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Food Supplements” recommends echinacea for bacterial vaginosis, as does Bacterial-Vaginosis.com and The University of Michigan Health System’s Alternative Medicine Database. Echinacea can be made into a tea or a tincture. Bacterial-Vaginosis.com and Balch also recommend pau d’arco, which may also be made into a tea.

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References

  • “The American Medical Association Complete Guide to Prevention and Wellness: What You Need to Know about Preventing Illness, Staying Healthy, and Living Longer”; 2008; American Medical Association
  • “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Sourcebook”; Laura Larsen, editor; 2009
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Bacterial Vaginosis
  • “The Gynecological Sourcebook”; M. Sara Rosenthal, Ph.D.; 2003
  • “S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College”; Heather Corinna; 2007
  • “Guide to Getting it On” ; Paul Joannides; 2009
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