Best At Home Remedies For Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Are you experiencing issues with bacterial Vaginosis? You might think that to treat bacterial Vaginosis, you will require the support of a medical professional. However, in this article, we’ll show you that treating BV can be easier than this. You can instead use natural remedies for BV and other forms of home treatment.

Table of Contents

What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial Vaginosis is by far the most common vaginal issue for women between the ages of 15 and 44. Indeed, research suggests that one in three women across America will experience BV.

BV is commonly confused with an STI because it causes a vaginal discharge. While it is more common in sexually active women, bacterial Vaginosis is not an STI.

It’s also important to be aware that some studies suggest that 80% of women will have no symptoms.

The condition is caused by a disturbance in the natural balance of harmful bacteria and healthy bacteria. Issues with vaginal bacteria levels can cause a fishy odor, peculiar discharge, and various other symptoms. For instance, some women may experience stomach pain. 

BV in itself is not harmful. However, it can lead to problems with other health issues and complications including other vaginal infections.

Home Remedies For Bacterial Vaginosis

There are numerous home remedies for BV or bacterial Vaginosis. These can also be used for recurrent bacterial Vaginosis which many women do experience.

Probiotics

Vaginal probiotics are one of the most commonly used home remedies for BV. Probiotics can be used to introduce new bacteria to the vagina and thus improve vaginal health. Various studies have investigated the impact of probiotics on bacteria balances and found promising results. This has led to them being used for both BV and yeast infections. They could even be used to prevent bacterial Vaginosis. 

Garlic

A bacterial vaginosis infection may also be treated using garlic. This is used because of its antibacterial properties. It can help to regulate levels of bacteria in the vagina. The natural remedy can be added to any cooking and can be consumed orally. Alternatively, you can explore oral garlic supplements for a BV infection. However, these should only be used after a quick consultation with a doctor. One study has compared the use of garlic tablets for treating BC compared with oral metronidazole. It found that garlic was an effective option.

Boric Acid

Intravaginal boric acid is one of the most common options for treating recurrent BV. While this should not be used if you are pregnant, it may be an effective option for most women. Indeed, one 2019 review found it to be highly effective and safe.

If you need to treat BV at home, this could also be as effective as certain prescription medicines.

It’s important to note that boric acid is not safe to be consumed. However, boric acid suppositories are suitable for the vagina to ensure the right levels of beneficial bacteria.

Tea Tree Oil

Have you noticed issues with vaginal odor due to BV? If so, then you may want to try tree tea oil as an effective solution. Tea tree oil may be effective in treating bacterial vaginosis because it has certain antibacterial properties. It also has antioxidants which is why it’s one of the popular natural remedies. Tree oil will need to be diluted using warm water. If you don’t do this, then it will burn and be incredibly painful.

Tea tree oil also has cleaning qualities. As such, it can be wonderful for vaginal health. It can also be used for other similar health issues such as vaginal yeast infections. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Another of the popular home remedies for BV is apple cider vinegar. For thousands of years, vinegar has been used to disinfect wounds and for various issues that involve harmful bacteria. Research also shows that the acetic acid contained within Apple cider vinegar can reduce the growth of certain types of bacteria

Other studies have found that apple cider vinegar is effective at treating vaginal candida infection which causes issues that are similar to bacterial vaginosis symptoms. 

Research has also found that lactic acid can be useful for treating symptoms associated with bacterial vaginosis. Apple cider vinegar contains lactic acid and as such it could also be beneficial. 

Yogurt

Yogurt is commonly used as a natural treatment for vaginal health issues such as yeast infections. While it won’t cure BV, it may help treat symptoms and restore balance. You can use yogurt by soaking your tampon in it. You can apply a tampon like this a couple of times per day. You may also find this helps ensure a healthy vagina if you have issues before or after vaginal sex. 

Herbs

There is also clinical evidence that certain herbal medicines can be as effective for treating BV as prescription treatments. For instance, a 2018 study explored the impact on calendula officinalis or pot marigold compared to metronidazole. 

The study found that pot marigold provided similar benefits to the prescription medication for women with symptomatic bacterial vaginosis. Women in both groups were free of symptoms after just one week of treatment. A key benefit of herbal medicines such as this is that there are no side effects or risks of health complications. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Recent studies have explored the use of hydrogen peroxide for treating BV and other vaginal infections. To treat BV with hydrogen peroxide, you should douche with 30 milliliters of the substance each for at least a week. One research study found that this caused bacterial vaginosis symptoms to disappear for 80% of participating women. While this study had a small sample size, the results were still promising. The only issue is that this treatment can cause skin irritation for some individuals. 

Hygiene 

People often assume that BV is caused by an issue with poor hygiene. This is understandable due to the odors and unpleasant discharge which are associated with bacterial vaginosis. However, it is not the case. Researchers are currently unaware of what causes BV and why it impacts some women more than others. That said, proper hygiene can help reduce the symptoms associated with BV even if it does not treat the root cause. In rare cases, changes in pH levels associated with BV can be due to poor vaginal hygiene standards. However, the vagina is largely self-cleaning. 

How To Prevent BV?

While the cause of BV may be unknown, it is clear that BV is more common in those who are sexually active. Despite the fact it is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease, sexual activity can lead to issues with vaginal bacteria. This can include an imbalance between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Once your vaginal pH levels are off, you can start to develop symptoms of BV. 

It is highly unusual for people who have abstained from sex to get BV though it is not unheard of. 

Due to this, the best way to prevent BV is to ensure that you are engaging in safe sex. For instance, you may want to consider limiting your number of sexual partners and ensure that you are regularly using condoms. 

You should also avoid douching. Douching involves using a device inserted into the vagina to rinse it out with water and ensure that it is clean. It may also involve using a cleansing agent. This can lead to the development of bacterial vaginosis because it disturbs the natural balance. It may also lead to issues such as yeast infection. 

Taking these steps is the best way to ensure a healthy vagina. 

Medical Treatment Options For BV

Beyond options such as tea tree oil, and similar remedies for bacterial vaginosis, there are various medical treatments available.

For instance, you may be prescribed an antibiotic. Antibiotic medication will work in the same way it would for a urinary tract infection and could reduce symptoms in a matter of days. 

Alternatively, a doctor may suggest that you use a vaginal gel to ensure that your vagina has the right pH balance. 

Some doctors also do use boric acid suppositories to treat issues with bacterial vaginosis. As already discussed, this can be a highly effective treatment and helps eliminate issues with bad bacteria that cause the vaginal infection BV.

Proper treatment should always lead to a rapid reduction in your symptoms. 

When To See a Doctor?

BV does not always require medical attention. However, there are certain times when you should seek out BV treatment from a doctor. 

You should see a doctor if you notice a new type of vaginal discharge that seems to be related to a fever or peculiar odor. 

You may also want to seek professional advice if the color and consistency of the discharge you associated with BV have changed.

It could also be worth getting expert advice if you have multiple sexual partners. The symptoms of BV are similar to various other STDs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

How can DrHouse help you?

If you have any questions about BV, or think you may have an infection, our online doctors are here to help. We can provide you with a diagnosis and prescription for treatment if necessary. We can also give you advice on how to prevent further infections in the future. 

Key Takeaways

We hope this helps you understand everything that you need to know about BV. Remember, treating this condition is essential to maintain vaginal health. While BV is not serious it can cause significant complications. 

This can include issues with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which may increase the chance of infertility. It could also make you more susceptible to the transmission of certain STIs through vaginal intercourse.

Home remedies with natural antibacterial properties such as those we’ve referred to above should help. If they don’t, you may want to explore support from a medical professional. 

Sources: 

  • Muzny CA, Schwebke JR. Asymptomatic Bacterial Vaginosis: To Treat or Not to Treat? Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2020;22(12):32. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1007/s11908-020-00740-z 
  • Mohammadzadeh F, Dolatian M, Jorjani M, Alavi Majd H, Borumandnia N. Comparing the therapeutic effects of garlic tablet and oral metronidazole on bacterial vaginosis: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014;16(7):e19118. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.19118 
  • Powell A, Ghanem KG, Rogers L, et al. Clinicians’ Use of Intravaginal Boric Acid Maintenance Therapy for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis and Bacterial Vaginosis. Sex Transm Dis. 2019;46(12):810-812. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001063 
  • Reichman, Orna MD*; Akins, Robert PHD†; Sobel, Jack D. MD*. Boric Acid Addition to Suppressive Antimicrobial Therapy for Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: November 2009 – Volume 36 – Issue 11 – p 732-734 doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3181b08456 
  • Cortesia C, Vilchèze C, Bernut A, et al. Acetic Acid, the active component of vinegar, is an effective tuberculocidal disinfectant. mBio. 2014;5(2):e00013-e14. Published 2014 Feb 25. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00013-14 
  • Ozen B, Baser M. Vaginal Candidiasis Infection Treated Using Apple Cider Vinegar: A Case Report. Altern Ther Health Med. 2017 Dec;23(7):AT5751. Epub 2017 Nov 7. PMID: 29112940.
  • Bilardi J, Walker S, McNair R, et al. Women’s Management of Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis and Experiences of Clinical Care: A Qualitative Study. PLoS One. 2016;11(3):e0151794. Published 2016 Mar 24. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0151794 
  • Pazhohideh Z, Mohammadi S, Bahrami N, Mojab F, Abedi P, Maraghi E. The effect of Calendula officinalis versus metronidazole on bacterial vaginosis in women: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2018;9(1):15-19. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.4103/japtr.JAPTR_305_17 
  • Cardone A, Zarcone R, Borrelli A, Di Cunzolo A, Russo A, Tartaglia E. Utilisation of hydrogen peroxide in the treatment of recurrent bacterial vaginosis. Minerva Ginecol. 2003 Dec;55(6):483-92. English, Italian. PMID: 14676737.
  • Jotham Suez, Niv Zmora, Gili Zilberman-Schapira, Uria Mor, Mally Dori-Bachash, Stavros Bashiardes, Maya Zur, Dana Regev-Lehavi, Rotem Ben-Zeev Brik, Sara Federici, Max Horn, Yotam Cohen, Andreas E. Moor, David Zeevi, Tal Korem, Eran Kotler, Alon Harmelin, Shalev Itzkovitz, Nitsan Maharshak, Oren Shibolet, Meirav Pevsner-Fischer, Hagit Shapiro, Itai Sharon, Zamir Halpern, Eran Segal, Eran Elinav, Post-Antibiotic Gut Mucosal Microbiome Reconstitution Is Impaired by Probiotics and Improved by Autologous FMT, Cell, Volume 174, Issue 6, 2018, Pages 1406-1423.e16, ISSN 0092-8674, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018.08.047 .

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

About DrHouse

DrHouse provides 24/7 virtual urgent care, men’s health, women’s health and online prescriptions.

  • On-demand virtual visits
  • 24/7 care support
  • Prescriptions as needed

DrHouse provides:

  • Virtual Urgent Care
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Men's Health
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Women’s Health
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Virtual Primary Care
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Online Prescriptions
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Online Dermatology
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Online Doctor
    TreatmentPrescriptions

  • Online Gynecology
    TreatmentPrescriptions

Recent Articles

STDs

When to See a Doctor for a UTI?

Jessica Guht Nov. 23, 2022

STDs

Coconut Oil for UTI: Can It Be Used for Treatment?

Jessica Guht Nov. 23, 2022

STDs

Can a UTI Cause a Sore Throat?

Jessica Guht Nov. 21, 2022

STDs

Can Sperm Cause a UTI?

Jessica Guht Nov. 21, 2022

STDs

Can Boric Acid Cure a UTI?

Jessica Guht Nov. 21, 2022

DrHouse

Healthcare

on your schedule

Skip the unnecessary waiting room,
see a board-certified clinician now.

Start an Online Visit
Visits are free with membership! Available in NY.

Prescriptions as needed
Renew or get a new Rx.

On-demand virtual visits
See a clinician in 15 minutes.

24/7 care support
We are here to help you.

DrHouse
  • 1

    Download the DrHouse app.
    Set up your free account in a minute.

  • 2

    Start a visit with an online doctor. Wait time is less than 15 minutes.

  • 3

    Get an Rx from your preferred pharmacy. Pick up a Rx nearby or get it delivered to you.

Download our app