There are few things more miserable in a woman’s life than recurring Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) or thrush. But there’s plenty you can do to heal the delicate vaginal tract and guard against ongoing infection.
BV and thrush are both caused by an imbalance in vaginal bacteria leading to pH changes, and so re-balancing the delicate vaginal flora is the aim of a diet and lifestyle plan.
Common triggers to avoid
A high fat intake, particularly saturated fat, may increase vaginal pH, thereby increasing the risk of BV.
Sugar is the biggest culprit in both BV and thrush as it feeds the bad bacteria and yeasts that cause these conditions. Avoid refined sugar, and limit your intake of high glycaemic index fruits such as bananas and citrus fruits.
Foods that dehydrate the body, including alcohol and caffeine, and highly processed and “junk” foods, should be avoided.
Foods which contain mould such as peanuts, blue cheeses, grapes and mushrooms are also best avoided as they introduce bad bacteria and yeasts into the digestive system.
Foods containing yeast should be avoided completely – if you love bread, try a yeast-free variety such as soda bread or sourdough bread.
Healing foods to try
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, a “friendly” strain of bacteria present in live yogurt, can control the growth of yeasts by “crowding” them out. For treating a yeast infection, only use plain, unsweetened live yogurt.
- Increase your intake of filtered water to 2-3 litres per day.
- Culinary herbs such as sage, papaya and pineapple are antiparasitic and so help balance good and bad bacteria in your digestive system.
- Garlic and caprylic acid are antifungal, so also help with bacteria balance.
- Coconut oil has effective antifungal properties that can kill the fungi responsible for yeast infections.
- Following an alkalizing diet can be beneficial – the diet includes vegetables, green juices, protein powders and whey protein.
- Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar contain some distinctive components that can control a yeast infection and get rid of the fungi causing it.
Tailoring your supplements
My For Women capsules are specialist live bacteria probiotics formulated for women, containing 3 billion live bacteria in each capsule. For Women probiotics capsules contain female-specific strains of bacteria (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri) proven to reach the vagina and urinary tract alive. The probiotics contained in For Women have been shown to increase the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment of BV, or act alone to recolonise the vaginal tract and protect against infection. In the case of thrush, the probiotics have been shown to fight candida yeasts locally by literally ‘crowding’ them out.
The action of the probiotics is complemented by my naturally antimicrobial Garlic tablets which fight the pathogenic yeasts which cause thrush. In addition, studies show that garlic fights infection and strengthens the immune system against further infection.
Getting plenty of Vitamin C is also important to support the immune system, and so my For Women probiotics also contain Vitamin C.
I’ve combined For Women probiotics and Garlic tablets in my Women’s Health Duo to provide a 30 day plan against BV or thrush.
Lifestyle tips to fight BV and thrush
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drinking water is the single most important thing you can do to keep the vaginal area healthy.
- If your doctor prescribes antibiotics for BV, make sure you are taking my For Women probiotics three times a day to recolonise your gut with “friendly” bacteria in order to avoid additional problems following the course of treatment.
- Try to avoid repeated courses of antibiotics and only take them when absolutely necessary. Antibiotics profoundly affect the natural balance of bacteria in the digestive system and vaginal tract, leading to the bad bacteria and yeasts getting a foothold.
- Avoid tight jeans, wear cotton underwear, wipe yourself from front to back after going to the loo, and choose only fragrance-free personal hygiene products, soaps and shower gels. All of these actions will help prevent the vaginal irritation that can precipitate BV or thrush.
- If you have diabetes, make sure your blood sugar is kept under control.