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Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Amanda Olson, DPT, PRPC
President & Chief Clinical Officer

How to Get Rid of BV Without Antibiotics

Getting rid of BV without the use of antibiotics as is possible and although it can be successfully treated with antibiotics, many women prefer to try home remedies and natural supplements first.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most effective natural remedies to get rid of BV without antibiotics, what causes BV and the symptoms you can expect.

How to Get Rid of BV Without Antibiotics 

To get rid of BV without antibiotics (after you've received a definitive diagnosis from a medical professional) consider boric acid, probiotics, apple cider vinegar and other natural remedies aimed at restoring the natural bacterial balance in the vagina.

While it's crucial to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis, abstaining from sex during this period can also help prevent the contraction of any sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Normally, a doctor would prescribe antibiotics for treatment, but if you're looking for alternative methods, various home remedies may offer relief.

Boric Acid Suppositories  

As a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial, boric acid has been used to treat women’s reproductive health issues for centuries and is an effective home remedy for BV. Used as vaginal suppositories that are designed to dissolve in the vagina within a few minutes, boric acid rebalances and restores a healthy vaginal environment and improves BV symptoms quickly. 

Our Boric Balance Suppositories here at Intimate Rose are 100% natural, made in an FDA-registered facility in the US, and relieve BV symptoms within 24 hours.  

Read: How to Get Rid of BV With Boric Acid

It is worth noting that completing a full course of boric acid suppositories is always recommended to clear the infection and eliminate the vaginal discharge, unpleasant odor, itching, and discomfort associated with BV. It is also important to note that boric acid suppositories should not be used when women are pregnant. 

Probiotics

Whether ingested as food or in supplement form, probiotics support the growth of good and beneficial bacteria in the body. And according to a 2019 study, probiotics have both short-term and long-term advantages for women suffering from BV.

In the short term, probiotics help to restore the vaginal microflora by inhibiting the growth of bacteria causing BV. When taken daily and long-term, probiotics help to prevent recurring BV infections by preventing the overgrowth of harmful bacteria during and after sex.  

Foods that contain natural probiotics include cottage cheese, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso soup, and yogurt. However, when seeking to restore a healthy vaginal environment after an infection like BV, a controlled daily dose in the form of probiotic supplements is advisable. 

Our Flora Bloom Probiotics for women support both gut health and vaginal health, with added cranberry and D-Mannose to support urinary tract health too.

What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?

  • Unprotected sex
  • Vaginal pH imbalance
  • Douching
  • New partners
  • Multiple partners
  • Hormonal changes

As a self-cleaning machine, the vagina stays healthy and infection-free by maintaining a balanced environment of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria or microflora. When something disrupts this healthy vaginal environment, harmful bacteria begin to thrive, the vaginal pH is thrown off balance and infections like BV can take hold.  

Although researchers have not yet identified exactly what causes BV, hormonal fluctuations and a disruption in the vaginal environment during penetrative sex are thought to contribute, with the following factors specifically highlighted. 

Unprotected Sex

In the same way that vaginas maintain a healthy balance of good and harmful bacteria to keep infections at bay, so do penises. And many female health experts believe that the harmful bacteria from some unprotected penises could be disrupting the vaginal environment in women that are prone to vaginal infections like BV. 

Vaginal pH Levels

Typically measuring between 7.2 and 8.0 on the pH scale, semen is alkaline, whereas the mildly acidic environment of a vagina usually measures between 3.8 and 5.0. During sex without a condom the mildly acidic environment of the vagina is altered by the alkalinity of semen, leaving the female genitals more susceptible to infections like BV and STIs. 

Douching

Because vaginas know how to self-clean, synthetic and scented hygiene products like douches and vaginal sprays are never needed and should be avoided at all costs. Several women use synthetic products to clean the vagina after sex without realizing that it disrupts the healthy balance of bacteria and heightens their risk of infection. 

New Partners

Even though BV is not considered an STI, research suggests that unprotected sex with a new partner could increase the risk of developing BV. Although unprotected sex with a previous partner may not have instigated BV, a new partner’s genital chemistry i.e. the balance of good and harmful bacteria on their genitals, could easily disrupt the natural balance of your vaginal chemistry.

Multiple Sexual Partners

Given the research on how the genital chemistry of one penis might differ from the next, it is plausible that having multiple sexual partners would increase a woman’s risk of getting BV.  

Hormonal Changes 

Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, as well as menopause and postmenopause, can also lead to changes in the vaginal microflora. The hormonal changes essentially make it more difficult for vaginal pH levels to remain balanced, leaving the vagina susceptible to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and infections like BV. 

What Happens If BV is Left Untreated? 

If left untreated, BV is known to increase women’s risk of contracting STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and HIV. Untreated BV can also result in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease where the fallopian tubes and uterus become infected and end up causing fertility issues as well as preterm births and ectopic pregnancies. 

Additionally, if BV is not successfully treated, it is known to reoccur within 12 months. 

How to Prevent Getting Bacterial Vaginosis

  • Avoid douching, or using scented menstrual products and fragranced soap around the vaginal area. 
  • Always use condoms with new sex partners until you have both been tested for STIs.
  • Replace synthetic underwear with breathable cotton underwear to prevent a buildup of moisture around the vagina that could encourage the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
  • Change out of damp gym clothes or wet swimwear as soon as possible to prevent BV from spreading more easily in a moist environment.
  • Wipe front to back after using the bathroom to avoid transferring bacteria from the anus to the vagina.  
  • Always wash your genitals after sex with warm water and a clean washcloth. 
  • Take a daily probiotic to help maintain balanced pH levels in the vagina.
  • Take a regular boric acid suppository if you are prone to recurring BV infections. 

Conclusion

Although bacterial vaginosis (BV) is successfully treated with antibiotics, natural remedies like boric acid suppositories and probiotics are also effective. Quick-acting boric acid suppositories will rebalance the vaginal microflora after being disrupted by an infection, ease BV symptoms within 48 hours and prevent recurring infections while probiotics are capable of killing the bacteria that cause BV and preventing harmful bacteria from thriving during or after sex. 

In the end, when it comes to taking a more natural approach, speak with your doctor about the correct dosage and guidelines for getting rid of BV without the use of antibiotics. And if BV symptoms persist after one week, consult with your doctor for further advice.  

References 

Centers For Disease Control & Prevention – Bacterial Vaginosis - https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-bacterial-vaginosis.htm

Mayo Clinic – Diagnosing & Treating Bacterial Vaginosis - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bacterial-vaginosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352285

Tuggeranong Square Medical Practice - Say Goodbye to Antibiotics: Discover Natural and Effective BV Treatments - https://www.tsmp.com.au/blog/natural-and-effective-solutions-learn-how-to-treat-bv-without-antibiotics.html

National Library of Medicine - The Role of Probiotics in Vaginal Health - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9366906/

National Library of Medicine - Probiotics for the Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis: A Meta-Analysis - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6848925/

Cleveland Clinic – Boric Acid Suppository - https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/19641-boric-acid-vaginal-suppository

National Center for Biotechnology Information – Clinicians' use of Intravaginal Boric Acid Maintenance Therapy for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis and Bacterial Vaginosis - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6878170/