Around 1 in 3 women will experience the condition bacterial vaginosis (BV), which an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the vagina. When vaginal pH levels become too alkaline (usually above 4.5), this is the ideal environment for an overgrowth of bad bacteria. BV is characterized by an abnormal, smelly discharge with a fishy odour and is accompanied by symptoms such as itching, pain during intercourse and reproductive problems.
In extreme cases, it can cause complications in pregnancy including pre-term delivery. It’s worth noting that BV differs from a yeast infection (Candida) in that the latter usually involves a clumpy discharge, which normally doesn’t have a bad smell. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by bacteria, whereas yeast infections occur as a result of a fungus, normally Candida Albicans.
The fishy odour that’s characteristic in BV is a caused by putrescine, a decay that’s also found in some foods. Indeed, poor nutrition is a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis. It would seem that women are more prone to the condition if they lack in phytonutrients, which include vitamin C. However, more recently, nutritional studies have started looking at the wider diet rather than individual nutrients, as dieticians recognized these aren’t consumed on their own. So that women can eat healthier diets, dieticians have devised nutrient-rich food indices and, using these, have discovered that the richer in nutrients the diet, the lower the chances of developing BV.
Dieticians believe that a diet high in fats, especially saturated fats, can increase vaginal pH levels. This, in turn, increases the risks of BV. Dietary saturated fats come from dairy products and some meats. Also, sugar can build an environment in the vagina that encourages bacteria to grow. Sugar can lead to inflammation and feeds the bad bacteria, promoting BV. Sufferers would also be wise to avoid dehydrating foods, which include saturated fats and refined flour products. Moreover, anyone suffering from BV is advised to steer clear of alcohol and caffeine as well as food that includes moulds (e.g., peanuts), fermented products, high carbohydrate foods and processed foods. Other foods to avoid include some citrus fruits and bananas, which are high on the glycemic index.
An excellent food to consume to help combat BV is garlic. This is full of natural antibiotic properties and can counter a broad range of bacteria. As well as eating garlic, it can also be used as a vaginal suppository. Garlic boosts the immune system, and a weak immune system is a risk factor for BV. Eating a diet rich in flaxseed, whole grains, organic products, fish, and poultry will benefit BV sufferers. Drinking water is very beneficial for fighting BV and for health in general. When it comes to consuming the right vitamins, increase zinc and vitamin C and take a folic acid supplement. Sometimes, GPs may prescribe antibiotics to combat BV, but these aren’t usually a long-term solution. Antibiotics can treat BV for a short period, but it’s like;y the condition will return if a woman’s diet and immune systems are deficient and unbalanced.
So, in summary, eat a low carbohydrate diet that’s rich in nutrients, drink plenty of water and BV shouldn’t be a blight in your life.