Infections

Bacterial Vaginosis

The most common bacterial infection is bacterial vaginosis. Vaginosis is similar to a yeast infection, but is caused by bacteria rather then yeast.

The vagina and surrounding areas are like a senstive ecosystem. There are beneficial and potentially pathogenic organisms coexisting together in a delicate balance. Organisms such as yeasts, bacteria, viruses, fluid substances etc. If the balance is disturbed for some reason, one of the components can become too strong and take over the ecosystem.

Common bacteria which are responsible during a vaginal infection include:

Gardnerella vaginalis, Mobiluncus, Bacteroides, and Mycoplasma.

Bacterial Vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted disease, it is an opportunistic infection caused by an over production of naturally occurring bacteria of the vaginal area.

Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis include:

  •  Whitish vaginal discharge
  • Fishy smell in the vaginal area

  • Possible mild itching

The flora of the vagina is influenced by the following factors:

  • Hormones: Estrogen in particular can have an effect on the balance of the vagina

  • PH: The vagina is naturally acidic with a normal PH of 3.8 to 4.5. If the PH is disturbed and becomes too alkaline, bacterial

  • Smoking

  • Birth control pills

  • Diet

  • Stress

How Chinese Medicine Treats Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is considered in Chinese Medicine as Damp-Heat. Dampness has the characteristic of being heavy and sinking- often settling in the genital region. Dampness is also wet fluid, vaginal discharge can indicate that there is excess dampness. Any type of infection or inflammation can be attributed to heat.

How TCM treats continued:

Using the treatment modalities of Chinese Medicine, such as herbal medicine and acupuncture, we can regulate the body and clear out the heat and dampness to eliminate the infection. The studies are finally catching up to what practitioners of Chinese Medicine have known for thousands of years- Herbs have antibiotic effects. The difference is, they may take more time, but they also do not the damaging effects that antibiotics have and they do not have the same resistance issues that antibiotics are facing.  Chinese Medicine is particularly helpful for women who are caught in a cycle of using antibiotics with a reinfection which follows in a short time. When TCM can help: Acute or sudden bacterial infection Chronic bacterial vaginal infections Regardless of the type of bacteria that is the cause of the infection

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Western Antibiotic Treatments

Standard treatment in Western medicine is to prescribe metronidazole or clindamycin which are antibiotics. Using this treatment, there is a high rate of reoccurrence.

More about Antibiotic Treatments

Antibiotics are the only option available to doctors who are not familiar or trained in other options. Antibiotics destroy or slow the growth of bacteria. They are one of the pharmaceutical medicines that can actually CURE, meaning that they can restore health- and you don’t need continuous treatment. You take it for the prescribed time, then that is it. Antibiotics have revolutionized global healthcare-they are truly life saving.

But they are not without their downfall. We are now facing an age of increasing antibiotic resistance- confirmed by the CDC (Center for Disease Control).  The more that the population as a whole does not rely on antibiotics for non-life threatening infections, the better the antibiotics will work when they need to.

Lifestyle Recommendations

 To help promote a healthy vaginal balance, the following lifestyle recommendations should be followed:

  • Do not wash the vaginal mucous membranes with soap. Mucous membranes are not meant to come into contact with soap. The skin is able to handle contact with soap because of the sebaceous glands (oil glands) which offer protection against the drying effects of soap. The use of soap can be a factor with recurring vaginal infections. Also avoid using highly perfumed products.

  • Wear loose fitting underwear and pants. Bacteria feed off of warmth and moisture. Air flow will help keep the vaginal area healthy.

  • After going to the washroom, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the vaginal area. This bacteria can also lead to a urinary tract infection.

  • Do not leave tampons in place for too long.

  • Eat well balanced ad include foods which resolve dampness and heat from the body. It is essential to avoid excessive amounts of dairy products, greasy foods and sugar.