Healthy Diet, Healthy Vagina: How to Prevent BV with the Right Foods

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Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an uncomfortable condition caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria that naturally occur in the vagina.

Many factors contribute to vaginal health and maintaining a healthy pH level that doesn’t foster the growth of bad bacteria.

Most women don’t know how to prevent BV. This can create unhealthy problems for women that may make it difficult to diagnose or even treat.

To learn about bacterial vaginosis and what you can do to lower your risk, keep reading below and find out more information.

What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

The CDC estimates that almost 30% of women have BV, many with no noticeable symptoms.

The number one symptom of bacterial vaginosis is the characteristic “fishy” smell. Other symptoms include vaginal itching, a gray, white or green discharge, and burning during urination.

Treatment involves antibiotic gels placed in the vagina or taken orally. Once established, this bacterial overgrowth can be hard to get rid of, and often recurs within a few months.

There are, however, certain lifestyle choices you can make to avoid bacterial vaginosis and the most important one is diet.

The Anti-BV Diet

What we eat directly factors into the overall health of our body, and this is especially true where BV is concerned. By choosing foods that feed good bacteria and limit the environment for bad bacteria, we can keep our vaginal pH stable and healthy.

Finding a reliable health product provider is a good way to begin your journey to a healthier life, but there are other things you should consider as well.

If you’re looking for a diet to prevent or help cure BV, we’ve got the answers to what your body needs and where you can find it!

1. Probiotics

Studies show that certain strains of lactobacilli may fight off and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. While you can find probiotic supplements to take orally, you can also get a good dose in several kinds of fermented foods.

  • Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt is a powerhouse of probiotics. Many brands even add extra probiotics to their blend, kicking their effectiveness up with each serving.
  • Kefir – Made through a process similar to Greek yogurt, kefir is a thinner, milky beverage. The drink is made from kefir grains, a kind of starter culture, mixed into cow or goat milk. The resulting beverage packs a healthy dose of both protein and probiotics.
  • Kombucha – A slightly alcoholic, fermented drink, kombucha is made from green or black tea. A starter culture, called the “mother”, is paired with sweetened tea and left to ferment. Other spices and flavors can be added in, and the result is an effervescent drink similar to soda. While it may not pack quite the lactobacilli content of yogurt or kefir, it’s an easy way to get some extra healthy bacteria in your diet.
  • Kimchi – This cabbage dish, courtesy of Korea, is made by salting and fermenting the cabbage along with other vegetables. Additional flavors, like onion and garlic, are added in to produce varying levels of spice. Because of the fermentation process, Kimchi contains a healthy dose of probiotics, and makes an excellent side dish to many dishes!

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is your immune system’s best friend, contributing to your body’s immune defense by supporting a myriad of cellular functions. A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C protects against environmental stress while helping your body fight off offending visitors – harmful bacteria included.

What foods contain the highest amounts of vitamin C?

  • Leafy Greens – Spinach, kale, and brussels sprouts contain a healthy serving of Vitamin C. You can also find it in other greens like broccoli and cabbage, certain starchy vegetables like squash and potatoes, and a few members of the nightshade family like tomatoes and peppers.
  • Fruits – Many fruits contain high doses of vitamin C, especially those native to tropical areas like guavas, lychees, pineapple, and kiwis. All citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges, are high in Vitamin C, and certain berries, like cherries and strawberries, also deliver a healthy dose.
  • Herbs – You can even get a little dose of vitamin C with the herbs you use to season your dinner! The two highest packed plants are thyme and parsley, so the next time you’re making dinner, don’t forget to sprinkle these over your potatoes!

3. Healthy Fats

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are responsible for various functions and hormones that contribute to health, your sex hormones among them. If these hormones are not balanced (your estrogen, for instance), it can throw other functions off – like the lubrication within your vagina.

When these conditions are changed, it can create an environment harmful bacteria can thrive in. Support these hormones by consuming foods high in these healthy fats.

  • Avocado – Spread on toast, fresh in salads or mashed into creamy guacamole, it’s easy to get in a serving or two of this tasty little fruit.
  • Salmon – All fish have it, but wild salmon contains the highest doses of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s also fight anxiety and depression, promote brain and eye health, and contribute to heart health, meaning they’re good for more than just an anti-BV diet!
  • Nuts and Seeds – Sprinkled on salads or eaten by the handful as a standalone snack, nuts, and seeds have varying doses of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Try chia and hemp seeds over oatmeal, sunflower seeds on a salad, and almonds as a snack!

How to Prevent BV

Besides diet, there are certain lifestyle factors you can adopt to help prevent an onset of BV.

  • Avoid Douching – Douching upsets the natural balance of the vagina’s pH, leading to conditions in which helpful bacteria are lost and harmful bacteria can take hold. Your vagina is self-cleaning and doesn’t require anything further than a quick, normal wash in the shower.
  • Limit Your Sex Partners – Multiple sex partners is one of the leading causes of recurrent BV. If you have been diagnosed with BV, consider limiting the number of sex partners you have in order to help prevent another round of it.
  • Take Your Medication – Make sure you finish all the medication you’re prescribed in the correct dosages. Don’t stop treatment early just because you feel better. Just because the signs and symptoms disappear doesn’t mean the harmful bacteria are all gone!

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Remember, when it comes to BV, preventing an occurrence from ever happening is easier than trying to fight one-off.

Now that you know how to prevent BV, make sure you’re taking care of your vaginal health by incorporating anti-BV foods and avoiding lifestyle choices that put you at higher risk.

And if you have been diagnosed with BV, let us help you with the correct medication to help get your vagina healthy again. Bacterial vaginosis can be uncomfortable and slightly embarrassing for those women affected, but with the right medication, proper diet, and a few lifestyle changes, you can help prevent a recurrence.

Contact us today to help you back to health!

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