When a woman gets an infection, they often feel unclean and dirty. Some might not have heard of Bacterial Vaginosis, but the truth is, it is the most common vaginal infection for women. Yes, you heard it right.
It is more common than a yeast infection. Apart from going to the doctors, some women like to try out home remedies to see if it can have a positive effect.
In this article we will be discussing if it’s OK to use Hydrogen Peroxide For BV?
More specifically we will focus on Hydrogen Peroxide douching, to see whether it is an effective treatment
What Is BV?
Bacterial Vaginosis is an infection in the vagina and it commonly affects women who are between 15 to 44 years old and it usually occurs after unprotected sexual intercourse with a new partner. There are also certain activities that increase a woman’s risk of getting it such as smoking, multiple sex partners, and vaginal douching.
Bacterial Vaginosis usually occurs when there is an imbalance in the vaginal ecosystem. The vagina, like other parts of the body, has both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria’s role is to control the bad bacteria from multiplying and proliferating. The good bacteria, also known as Lactobacillus, produces lactic acid which keeps the vagina slightly acidic and clean.
The presence of good bacteria in the vagina provides a lot of benefits and it helps prevent any infection or invasion of foreign pathogens. when there is a sudden decrease in the number of Lactobacilli in the vagina, the bad bacteria become out of control and increase in number. When this occurs an infection can happen which is normally called Bacterial Vaginosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Thin greyish white vaginal discharge
- Unpleasant fishy smell
- Painful and itchy vagina
- Pain after sexual intercourse
Ways To Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis From Occurring?
- Avoid smoking
- Practice safe sex
- Avoid multiple sex partners
- Avoid vaginal douching and using scented vaginal products
What Are The Treatments For Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis is an infection and it can be treated with antibiotics. When a woman is diagnosed with BV, her medical practitioner can prescribe her a course of treatment and it usually includes antibiotics like the following:
- Clindamycin (Clindesse, Cleocin) – This medication can be taken orally but it also comes as a topical cream that can be applied in the vagina. Important note: It can have an effect against latex; it will weaken condoms so we advise you not to have sex 2 to 3 days after using this treatment. Use back-up birth control or a contraceptive device when having sex.
- Metronidazole (Flagyl, Metrogel-Vaginal) – This medication can be taken orally but it also comes as a topical cream. It is a topical antibiotic that comes in gel form that can be inserted into the vagina. Be wary because it may cause an upset stomach. We also recommend you avoid taking alcohol during the course of the treatment.
- Tinidazole (Tindamax) – This medication can be taken orally and like Metronidazole It can also upset the stomach. We suggest you Avoid drinking alcohol during the course of the treatment.
There are other treatments that can be used for Bacterial Vaginosis, one of them is boric acid suppositories. Using 600 mg of boric acid in the vagina for two weeks can help prevent the recurrence of BV in some women. According to a medical doctor, Malcolm Thaler, a combination of 7-day treatment of antibiotics and boric acid suppositories for 21 days helps reduce the number of recurrent cases.
Before trying any treatment we recommend you consult a medical care provider.
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide Douching?
Douching is the method of cleaning the insides of the vagina by using a mixture of water and a solution. This can be done by using bottles that can be squirted inside the vagina. There are vaginal douches that are already premade that consist of water, vinegar, baking soda, iodine, or hydrogen peroxide.
A peroxide douching is a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide. There are lots of claims out there that when women used hydrogen peroxide, they were able to treat Bacterial Vaginosis.
Hydrogen peroxide comes in many strength levels, you can find them in the pharmacy or drugstores. A 3% concentration of Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used for cleaning the wounds. It also undergoes a process of oxidation and is able to break down the cell walls of bacteria.
Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide Douche To Treat BV?
Studies have been done which show that using antiseptics can help cure BV. However, it can affect both good and bad bacteria. When you opt for this treatment, you must also consider using methods that will help replenish the good bacteria in the vagina. Remember that the good bacteria, Lactobacillus produces lactic acid that keeps the vagina slightly acidic with a pH of 3.8-4.5.
When there is an absence of good bacteria, the vaginal pH becomes alkaline which allows the growth of bad bacteria and therefore, worsening the symptoms of BV. Using probiotics will help replenish the good bacteria in the vagina. Taking Probiotic supplements daily will help replenish the number of good bacteria in the vagina.
What Are The Side-Effects Of Using Hydrogen Peroxide?
- It kills off both good and bad bacteria.
- It is an irritant, the vagina has delicate skin and it could irritate it.
- Using a reusable douche can introduce mold and fungus in the vagina and other reproductive organs.
Medical care providers usually do not advise douching because it comes with more risks than benefits. Douching with an antiseptic can cause a great imbalance in the vaginal ecosystem by affecting both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria come with health benefits which also help protect you from sexually transmitted infections and yeast infections. When a woman has BV, douching can also cause the spreading of infection.
When flushing is done, the bacteria can end up further up into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries which can end up causing Pelvic Inflammatory disease, which often results in pelvic pain and infertility. Hydrogen peroxide douching can cause irritation of the vulva and vagina, a study done showed that over 30% of the participants had experienced vaginal irritation after using Hydrogen peroxide douching.
Bacterial Vaginosis may be the most common infection for woman in their childbearing years, but it can be treated using various methods or home remedies. Yes, it can be treated with antibiotics, but it can also be managed by using Hydrogen Peroxide.
Hydrogen Peroxide is an effective antiseptic that can be used to kill off bacteria that causes infection, in this process, the good bacteria are also killed off. When planning to use this method, you must make sure to consider the presence of good bacteria in the vagina.
The good bacteria can be replenished by taking both prebiotics and probiotics. When the good bacteria population is restored, the vaginal ecosystem will be returned to it’s original state after a few months and hopefully there won’t be a recurrence.
When a woman decides to take her antibiotics, she can also try different home remedies that can be used to treat her infection. One of them is using Hydrogen peroxide douching which may be effective in treating the infection but it can also cause irritation in the vagina and it kills off both good and bad bacteria. When this happens there is a possibility of the infection to recur after a few months of treatment.
When a pregnant woman has Bacterial Vaginosis she may be at risk from possible complications like low birth weight of the baby, premature labour and delivery, getting sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea, chlamydia and Pelvic inflammatory disease, which is the infection of the reproductive system.
It is also important to note that when taking a course of treatment, a woman must finish and complete the medications prescribed by the medical care provider even when the symptoms have already subsided after few days of treatment. This prevents bacterial resistance and the recurrence of infection.
Bacterial vaginosis can be easily treated with antibiotics but you must also take probiotics to replenish the number of good bacteria in the vagina. The good bacteria will help protect the vagina from foreign pathogens and those bacteria that can cause another infection. Using probiotics with other treatments is more effective in preventing the recurrence of BV.
Hydrogen peroxide is not advisable to use for BV because it has more risks than benefits. There are other home remedies that can be used alongside antibiotics to clear the symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis.
However there have been studies done before which suggest using Hydrogen Peroxide in treating recurring BV. In one particular study the participants were asked to use 30 ml of hydrogen peroxide every night for 1 week. 89% of the participants were cleared after using this treatment option!