How to cure BV in one day
Whether you're first noticing a bit of an itch, or struggling with chronic "fishy" smelling symptoms every time you have sex, it's natural to want to know how to get rid of the cause as soon as possible. Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common types of infections and is often the cause of unusual vaginal odor and discharge. Being able to spot common BV symptoms is the first step towards seeking treatment and finding relief. Because bacterial vaginosis is uncomfortable and disruptive—most people with vaginas will get BV at least once in their lifetime—100% of them want to know how to get rid of BV in one day. Thankfully, BV is easy to treat and fairly easy to prevent.
What is BV?
Most commonly found in people between the ages of 15 to 44, bacterial vaginosis refers to a vaginal infection that occurs when you have an overgrowth of bacteria. While your vagina usually has a balance of both good and bad bacteria, BV means there's an excess of bad bacteria. Your "good" bacteria work to keep other troublesome bacteria from growing out of control and causing those familiar, unpleasant symptoms, but sometimes things happen that may get in the way of the good guys doing their jobs. Foreign semen or saliva from oral or penile sex can lead to a bacterial imbalance in your vagina. Though it's possible you won't experience any of these (fingers crossed), here are some common symptoms that can indicate you have BV:
- Unpleasant, fishy odor
- Vaginal itching or pain
- Burning during urination
- Thin, gray, white, or green vaginal discharge
It's possible that you may have symptoms that come and go, or you may not notice them at all if they're mild. Either way, it's important to consult with a physician or take wisp's Symptoms Quiz if you suspect you have BV.
How do I know if I have BV or an STI?
Trichomoniasis, or trich, is a common STI that shares a lot of symptoms with BV. STIs can have long-term impacts on your reproductive health so it's important to know as soon as possible if you have one. The only 100% effective way to know if you have an STI? Get an STI test for Trichomoniasis. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can take the appropriate antibiotics. If it is your first time experiencing BV symptoms, your doctor may ask you to take an STI test to verify your diagnosis so they can provide proper treatment and protect you and your sexual partners. Though a trich infection tends to stay within the vagina, vaginal canal and vulva, it spreads easily to your partner(s), especially if you're not aware you have it.
Ultimately, if you have symptoms that resemble either BV, trich, or both, you can ask your doctor to test you for both so you know for sure. They'll probably also ask you a few questions to see which infection you're likely to have. For example, they may ask if you've had unprotected sex, or sex with multiple partners if they suspect you have trich.
How do I know if it's BV or yeast?
Yeast infections are another very common type of vaginal infection that also causes itching, inflammation, and changes in discharge. It's very easy to get the two mixed up! However, the treatment for yeast infections and the treatment for BV are very different—yeast infections require antifungal medication while BV requires antibiotics (they aren't interchangeable—if you get the wrong treatment, it won't work against your infection). There are a couple of key differences in symptoms that can help you identify whether you're dealing with BV or a yeast infection:
- Odor — BV infections typically have a tell-tale fishy smell that will be very strong—there's no mistaking it. Yeast infections tend to be odorless, or you may pick up a very mild yeasty odor that may remind you of bread.
- Discharge — BV discharge is thin and will be a grey or greenish color. Discharge from a yeast infection will be thick, white, and chunky. It's often described as having a cottage cheese-like texture.
Additionally, you're more likely to experience itching with a yeast infection. BV can also cause itching, but it will probably be more severe and apparent with a yeast infection. If you still aren't sure which type of infection, document your symptoms thoroughly and let your doctor know. They will be able to give you the right diagnosis and corresponding treatment to get you back on track!
Can BV go away on its own?
It is possible for BV to resolve on its own, but it’s often not worth waiting. If BV does go away on its own, it typically takes at least 2 weeks, during which time you’ll be suffering from uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms. You may spend that time waiting, and your infection doesn’t get better! Getting prescription treatment will clear up your symptoms in 2-3 days and you can feel confident that your BV is taken care of.
If you’re pregnant or undergoing any medical procedures, it’s especially important to have your BV taken care of sooner rather than later. BV can contribute to early birth in pregnancy and can increase your risk of infection during gynecological procedures. Antibiotics will prevent any long-term complications from BV!
Treating BV with prescription meds
Once you're sure you have BV, a doctor can provide the appropriate treatment for how to get rid of bacterial vaginosis. The fastest way to consult a doctor and get treatment is to order BV medication online. Though BV has the potential to go away on its own, there are several ways to cure BV if it persists. To treat chronic BV, i.e. an active infection that is not lessening in response to lifestyle changes, a medical professional will prescribe you an oral or vaginal antibiotic, such as clindamycin, metronidazole, or tinidazole. These FDA-approved antibiotics are the most trusted acute treatment for reducing the number of BV-causing bacteria.
Many people also find that they experience BV infections that recur around certain times in their cycle or consistently find themselves with a BV infection after having sex. This is normal! It just means your vaginal balance may be more sensitive than most to environmental changes or hormone fluctuations. Try sticking to soaps and detergents specially formulated for sensitive skin and avoid fragrances or flavors in things like lubes or condoms. Making these types of small changes can help maintain a healthy vaginal environment that will help prevent BV!
BV Antibiotics (Tablets & Gel)Doctor-prescribed antibiotics (tablets or gel) used to treat bacterial vaginosisStarting at $15/month
Reproductive ProbioticsAn over-the-counter beneficial bacteria supplement to counter antibioticsStarting at $10/month
Boric AcidAn over-the-counter vaginal suppository custom made in our pharmacy to help prevent & relieve bacterial & yeast infectionsStarting at $9/month
Natural remedies for BV
If you're finding that you're still experiencing repeat infections and want to prevent BV after taking prescription BV medication, there are many different ways to do it! Make sure to always consult with a doctor about which of these methods might be right for you. Here are some ways to prevent BV naturally:
Boric acid keeps your pH balanced
Used for over 100 years to help treat vaginal infections, boric acid features both antifungal and antiviral properties. This bacterial vaginosis natural treatment is available over the counter in gelatin capsules that are inserted into the vagina, particularly after sex, to encourage balance and prevent BV.
In a 2009 study, women who inserted boric acid into their vaginas, in addition to using an antibiotic treatment, had an 88% cure rate at seven weeks and 92% cure rate at the 12-week mark. The researchers concluded that boric acid is effective at removing the vagina's bacterial mucus and getting rid of disease-causing organisms that cannot be cleared by antibiotics.
If you opt for boric acid, make sure to use it vaginally, as it can be toxic when swallowed. You also need to keep it away from children and animals. As a precaution, consult with your doctor prior to use and forego this home remedy if you're pregnant.
Yogurt for a natural probiotic boost
Not only is yogurt a yummy treat, but it may also aid in your BV recovery! You may have seen some tips that suggest applying it directly to your vagina—don't follow that advice. Putting yogurt on or in your vagina can hurt more than it helps, especially if the yogurt contains sugar. Stick to using it the old-fashioned way— eating it! Yogurt helps create a balanced vaginal environment and is great for your gut health. According to the Mayo Clinic, this natural probiotic contains plenty of healthy bacteria that can help fight off bad bacteria. Opt for at least one serving per day to get the full benefits that come from yogurt.
Alternatively, many of the same "healthy bacteria" found in yogurt are available in pill form as probiotic supplements for BV if you're not a fan of dairy, or you just prefer a more convenient method of getting your daily probiotics.
Probiotics for good bacteria!
As mentioned above, yogurt contains beneficial probiotic bacteria, but if you don't like yogurt, you can take a probiotic supplement to introduce healthy bacteria into your body. When you take them daily, they can help treat and prevent BV recurrence. Whereas antibiotics kill off both good and bad bacteria, probiotics and yogurt help replenish the good, beneficial bacteria.
Stay dry with breathable, cotton underwear
When it comes to your undergarments, opt for breathable materials like cotton to help prevent "trapping" BV bacteria. Cotton underwear is not required all the time to treat BV, but is recommended when symptoms are present. Underwear made out of spandex, for example, can trap moisture that harbors bacteria and worsens BV. It's also best to avoid tight pants when you have BV.
Natural BV remedies to be wary of
Googling "natural BV remedies" will serve up a lot of tips on how to get rid of BV at home—unfortunately, not all of these methods will help and a lot of them are harmful!
Applying yogurt for BV
You may have seen some tips that suggest applying yogurt directly to your vagina—don't follow that advice. Putting yogurt on or in your vagina can hurt more than it helps, especially if the yogurt contains sugar. Getting sugar in your vagina can lead to uncomfortable yeast infections. Stick to using it the old-fashioned way— eating it!
Inserting garlic for BV
Garlic features plenty of antibacterial properties that are believed to help prevent BV and many home remedy tipsters suggest inserting a clove of garlic into your vagina to rebalance vaginal pH. Not only will this be very uncomfortable (especially with an active infection!), but it also won't be effective—the key ingredient only activates when garlic is chopped up, and it's definitely not a good idea to put chopped garlic up there. Feel free to add garlic to your diet or opt for a garlic supplement, for its nutritional benefits, but make sure to only take garlic orally.
Tea tree oil for BV
Tea tree oil has plenty of antibacterial and antifungal properties, but this essential oil isn't monitored by the Food and Drug Administration which means it's easy to purchase a product of questionable quality (not something you want if you're putting it near your genitals). Essential oils are also very, very concentrated and should not be used without diluting them with a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil. Finally, many people are sensitive to essential oils like tea tree. If you insist on testing out this home remedy, test it on your skin first to make sure you don't have a reaction to it. Tea tree oil is not recommended as a stand-alone cure for acute BV symptoms; but it may be used in combination with BV antibiotics to prevent recurrent or chronic BV.
Tips to manage BV recurrence
Along with knowing how to cure BV symptoms, it's important to understand methods that can prevent you from contracting it again. Here are some tips to help you manage and mitigate the likelihood of BV recurrence via changes in your lifestyle:
- Practice safe sex. Use condoms to reduce your risk of getting BV. It's also best to avoid having multiple sexual partners, as this can increase your chances of getting BV.
- Maintain good hygiene. When you go to the bathroom, wipe from front to back to avoid stool contamination in your vagina. You also need to change your pad or tampon regularly throughout your period. Practicing good hygiene overall can help resolve many BV cases as soon as possible.
- Avoid douching. Douching can alter vaginal pH, which increases BV vulnerability. Not only that, but it can actually make it worse or cause it to reoccur. Because of this, it's best to avoid douching altogether.
- Avoid scented soaps, lotions, or detergents. Stick to fragrance-free options and things labeled for sensitive skin. These products are less likely to cause irritation generally and can help maintain the health of your vagina.
- Wash up before and after sex. This will help reduce the number of bacteria in your genital area and reduce the likelihood of introducing infection-causing bacteria into your vagina. You can use wisp’s Balancing Wash, a doctor-approved wash that’s perfect for the delicate skin of your vulva. Use a little bit with warm water on external genital skin and rinse thoroughly to keep things clean and avoid irritation.
Having more severe bacterial vaginosis symptoms, or just some mild discomfort, should tell you a lot about whether you need prescription meds or if bacterial vaginosis natural treatment is appropriate for you. There are several methods to cure BV quickly, but the most important part of curing BV is that you do it. Untreated BV can lead to a greater risk of acquiring an STI, as well as lead to an increased chance of infertility.
Make sure to stay on top of your treatment plan, as it helps prevent further complications. If you need further assistance or you want to chat about how to get rid of BV fast, try our Symptoms Quiz to learn about treatment options.