Description: Bacterial vaginosis can occur to you countless times depending on your treatment. So if you want to know how to get rid of BV forever, check out the following piece of advice…
Every month after my period ends, I inspect the discharge in my underwear. I pray that the smell is just musky—which means healthy—instead of like a fish market on a summer’s eve—which means my bacterial vaginosis, otherwise known as BV, is back.
If I choose to ignore any sign that my BV has returned, me and #mycalvins are doomed. My milkshake will bring no boys to the yard, and by day two the intense aroma has turned into an intense itch, which will only get worse the more I itch. Sex has also become painful, and by day five all of the friction caused by my itching means that I’m severely sore to the touch. I feel bruised, and within 20 minutes of showering, my underwear is once again soaked through with discharge.
BV is the most common vaginal infection for women ages 15-44. It’s not an STI or STD (although the CDC groups it as such), and though rare, you can even get it if you’re a virgin. The CDC says BV is “an imbalance of ‘good’ and ‘harmful’ bacteria that are normally found in a woman’s vagina.” Basically, the “bad” bacteria increases, and the “good” stuff decreases. It’s not contagious, and you can’t get it from toilet seats, towels, or gym equipment. It’s not known what causes BV, but it is known that having a new sexual partner, multiple sexual partners, or douching, can contribute. For some women, having sex with just one person can throw their pH balance off and cause BV, while other women can have multiple partners and remain perfectly balanced.
After two days on antibiotics, the smell and itch fade. After four days, most of the symptoms are gone. After I finish the seven-day course of antibiotics, I get an actual yeast infection. Is this a sick joke? No, this is my life. Another trip to the doctor, and one more pill (yeast infections are treated with a single dose of Diflucan), my vagina is healthy and happy again.
Medically, BV is considered recurrent when a woman gets it four times in one year. After this incident, I get BV every single month, the day after my period, for 19 months. I go to countless gynecologists during the first few months, and they all tell me the same thing: there is no known cause or prevention for BV.
So I start researching. I buy books, speak to more doctors, and call friends who tell me they’ve experienced a bout or two with BV too. I learn about the “good” and the “bad” that was messing with my vagina. I learn that if you get a yeast infection after being on an antibiotic it’s because antibiotics kill all bacteria, and this makes your vagina more susceptible to getting an overgrowth of yeast.
After taking antibiotics every month for almost a year, I try changing my birth control to see if hormones are the cause. I still get BV. I try abstaining, and I still get BV. A nurse tells me I can try placing a raw garlic clove in my vagina, and that didn’t work either. I even try douching with apple cider vinegar. It temporarily gets rid of the smell and the discharge, but a week later, I get the worst case of BV ever. I try tea tree oil baths. I try a tampon soaked in greek yogurt, which alleviates the itching, but not the issue. I try going to a nutritionist and changing my diet to exclude certain foods, and up my intake of fermented ones (like the drink Kombucha) — it doesn’t work.
Finally, I find a remedy. Probiotics. In the same way eating greek yogurt while on antibiotics may help prevent yeast infections, taking daily probiotics may help build up your good bacteria and prevent an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which can ultimately prevent BV.
The only way I’ve been able to get rid of BV is to take daily probiotics, and only after about two to three months of doing this, do I stop getting BV for good. So, if you are suffering from BV, skip the at-home remedies you found on Google. I’ve already tried them all for you, and they don’t work. Instead, educate yourself about your vaginal health — you’ll be surprised by how much they left out in health class. And do your own research. Talk to your doctor about starting a daily regimen of probiotics. If it helped my vagina, maybe it can help yours too.