Normally, bacteria called lactobacilli thrive in the vagina. When lactobacilli are replaced by other types of bacteria, it causes the inflammation, itching, pain and abnormal vaginal discharge associated with bacterial vaginosis. It is important to cure the condition, and that requires antibiotics which your doctor must prescribe. Antibiotic treatments for bacterial vaginosis should begin to work within two days. However, you can use home remedies to ease the pain and itching that result from bacterial vaginosis.
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To ease vaginal itching, apply a cold washcloth, cold compress or an ice-pack to the area. These also help if your vulva is sore.
Bacterial vaginosis causes a characteristic fishy odor in your vaginal discharge. The odor results from the anaerobic respiration of the bacteria that over-run your normal vaginal bacteria. Anything that increases the pH of your vagina will worsen the odor. Alkaline substances like semen or menstrual blood make the odor stronger. A sitz bath with baking soda, which buffers pH levels, can help reduce the pH of your vagina and decrease the odor as well as the irritation. Curing the infection will remove the odor entirely. Do not try to get rid of or mask the odor of your vaginal discharge by douching or using feminine sprays because these measures irritate the vaginal lining and will worsen your pain and itch.
You can use an over-the-counter anti-itch medication like cortisone on the vulva (but never in the vagina itself). If the itching is keeping you awake, you can try an antihistamine to soothe the itch and make you drowsy.
Anything that disrupts the normal environment of your vagina can increase the pain, itching and discharge of bacterial vaginosis (as well as increase your risk for another infection). Avoid irritating substances like harsh soaps, scented hygiene products or douches. Prolonged sessions in a hot tub or whirlpool can be irritating. Good hygiene, including normal bathing (douching is not necessary) and always wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom so feces does not spread into your vagina, helps to keep healthy levels of your normal vaginal bacteria.