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:
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
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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:
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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.
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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.
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.