Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Similar to thrush, Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial overgrowth in the vagina, caused by an imbalance of the bacteria normally present in the vagina. BV is not an STI, however sexual activity or frequent douching can increase your risk of BV or make symptoms worse. BV often causes a white, grey or watery discharge, an unpleasant or ‘fishy’ vaginal smell, and/or mild irritation around the vagina and vulva.
Having BV can increase your risk of STIs, pelvic inflammatory disease, and complications if you have an IUD. BV can also cause complications during pregnancy if left untreated, such as premature birth, miscarriage and infections. Due to the risks, it is always important to seek medical advice and treatment. Treatment for BV is usually with antibiotics. They may be given as oral tablets, or a vaginal antibiotic cream or gel. Unfortunately, BV often comes back. So, you may need more than one course of treatment.
BV can be prevented by avoiding douching and perfumed products and deodorants around your vagina, washing your vagina with water only, and the use of condoms and other safe sex practices.
Boric acid has been used for a long time to treat vaginal infections, including BV and thrush. The use of boric acid is supported by both anecdotal and researched evidence. Boric acid is a naturally occurring powder that has antibacterial properties. When used to treat BV or thrush, you can purchase pure boric acid in the form of a pill (borax is not a suitable replacement). This pill is not to be swallowed. Instead, you insert it in your vagina as high up as comfortable, to allow it to dissolve. You can expect some discharge, and for your vagina to be quite powdery as the pill casing dissolves. It is recommended to use this pill at night, and to not engage in sexual activity. You can generally use boric acid to your discretion, based on the severity of symptoms. It does not require a prescription but can be challenging to find at your local chemist (however you can purchase it relatively inexpensively online). Boric acid is not suitable if you are pregnant. Consult your doctor if you have any questions, concerns, or plans to use boric acid to treat BV or thrush to make sure it is safe for you.