Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, occurs when the natural flora, or good bacteria, mostly lactobacilli, are replaced by large numbers of bad bacteria. When the pH of the vaginal canal becomes too alkaline, above 4.5, it creates a favorable environment for the bad bacteria to overgrow. This overgrowth causes an infection that could potentially lead to complications in the uterus and fallopian tubes. Causative factors include having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners, douching, using intrauterine contraceptive devices, taking broad-spectrum antibiotics, and not using condoms, as sperm alkalinizes the vagina.
Certain foods can promote bacterial overgrowth by creating a more favorable environment within the body where the bacteria can thrive and multiply. Sugar and foods that either contain sugar or turn to sugar in the body are the biggest culprits and the most important food item to avoid. Sugar promotes inflammation and acts as food for the bad bacteria. Foods that dehydrate the body, saturated fats and refined flour products are also contributors that should be avoided.
Foods to Avoid
Whether you have a current infection or want to avoid an infection, there are specific foods to avoid to help keep a healthy ecosystem of flora throughout the body. These foods include alcohol, coffee, fast foods, saturated fats, foods that contain molds such as peanuts, citrus fruits, fruits with high glycemic indexes such as bananas, fermented foods, processed foods, bread, pasta, and anything high in carbohydrates.
Food allergens should also be avoided. The top allergenic foods include dairy products such as milk and cheese, wheat and gluten, eggs, corn, soy and nuts, specifically peanuts due to their mold content. Although yogurt contains lactobacilli, it may be best to avoid eating it because of the dairy content and use a probiotic supplement formulated with lactobacilli instead.
To help prevent bacterial vaginosis, eat a diet rich in whole foods and avoid sugars, refined carbohydrates and food allergens. It's also important to drink adequate amounts of filtered water every day. The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Your doctor can best advise you about which foods to avoid and which ones to eat and devise a treatment plan that is best for you.