How to treat BV over the counter

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) constitutes a minor vaginal infection occurring frequently in women in their reproductive years. As estimated, as many as over thirty percent of women experience the infection over their lifetimes. However, this figure speaks for itself – lots of women are not sufficiently informed about the factors which increase the risk of BV and the infection consequences. Therefore, if you are a woman and the emergence of this infection may relate to you, continue reading to avoid some negative consequences of this fully preventable condition. BV is caused by the modification both in the quantity as well as the quality of bacteria residing in the vagina. In simple words, a healthy vagina can be characterized as possessing Lactobacilli (known as beneficial bacteria) in abundance. However, in the event of vaginal problems, including BV, the amount of the beneficial bacteria significantly falls behind the harmful ones – such as Prevotella or Mobiluncus species. In the face of the shortfall of Lactobacilli, pH of the vagina changes from acidic to alkaline. This fact is important for the reason that the acidic vaginal conditions naturally provide protection against various infections that generally favor a more alkaline environment. Frequently, women remain uninformed about having BV as it is common for the infection to develop without symptoms. When noticed, however, the symptoms, including white discharges of an unpleasant smell, may be easily confused with other vaginal issues.

BV treatments

Precisely defining BV causes still poses significant challenges in the medical community at the present time. However, some lifestyle-related factors play a major role in increasing the risk of BV. First of all, sexually active women are more exposed to contracting the infection as opposed to women that do not have sex due to the changes to the flora of the vagina occurring during a sexual intercourse. In addition, women that change their partners frequently, are more susceptible to BV as encountering a greater variety of bacteria of an unknown etiology. What is more, hygiene practices are not irrelevant for the infection development. Women that choose to douche over regular showers and use washing products that are not exclusively intended for intimate hygiene elevate the risk of developing BV. Failure to address BV can result in different health complications. The infection affects the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections. In addition, untreated BV may impair fertility and contribute to the decrease of body mass in infants. Therefore, it is important to understand the ways of diagnosing and treating BV. The infection diagnosis is typically confirmed after performing an examination of the pelvis in order to analyze vaginal discharges. After that, such a discharge can be sent on to further laboratory tests. When the infection is confirmed, the recommended treatment is antibiotic therapy. Metronidazole is one of the most widely used medications intended for BV treatment. It is sold in the form of pills or a single pill with an increased dose of the active substance. A gel that needs to be applied on affected areas is also available. The pills can be used during pregnancy, while the gel is advised when breastfeeding. Other medications include Clindamycin (a cream and pills) and Tinidazole (pills). Common adverse effects of BV medications comprise headaches and nausea, among others.

Bacterial vaginosis treatment over the counter

BV can be treated also with over the counter preparations. However, one has to remember that over the counter medications are generally not advised when BV is not officially confirmed. Otherwise, gels (e.g. Acidic Vaginal Jelly, Aci-Jel, Relagard, Acetic acid, Fem pH, Acid Jelly), and solutions (Massengill Douche, Feminique, Bidette) are available for home BV treatment at supermarkets, pharmacies, and online stores. Moreover, metronidazole pills and creams can also be obtained over the counter online – or even in pharmacies in some countries of the world. None of the abovementioned preparations should be taken during pregnancy. When taking the medications, the use of alcohol is strictly forbidden as it only reinforces their side effects. Additionally, there are other home remedies to help you get rid of the infection. Lactobacillus probiotic tablets will support and accelerate the restoration of the vagina’s microbial flora. Such tablets need to be taken vaginally before bedtime. Lastly, substances of antiseptic properties can be used in BV treatment. These include, for instance, apple cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Notably, the substances have to be used diluted. Even with a successful treatment, BV frequently returns, usually after three months up to a year.

BV represents an infection with unpleasant symptoms, however, when manifested and diagnosed, it can be effectively cured with the use of antibiotics, over the counter medications, and home care methods. Due to the fact that BV shares its symptoms with other vaginal issues, it is necessary to consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any of the approaches. Regardless of the method chosen, it is important to adhere to the treatment, even if the condition improves considerably. In this way, the risk of BV reoccurrence can be minimized. As preventing measures, it is recommended to temporarily give up on sexual activity or, if not possible, have sex using a condom, and, in general, to take better care of personal hygiene, choosing intimate hygiene products when taking the shower as well as breathable underwear.

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