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THE BLOG

Is It BV or Thrush?

general Jul 22, 2022
Is it BV or Thrush?

Let’s start with defining these two types of conditions:

Bacterial vaginosis, shortened to BV, which is much easier, is a condition caused by changes in the amount of certain types of bacteria in your vagina. While, thrush is caused by an overgrowth of yeast. Both BV and thrush have similar symptoms however, there are a few distinct differences, see the table below for more information. 

 

Symptoms:

BV

Thrush

Red

Itchy

Watery sometimes gray discharge

pH above 4.5

Itchy

Redness

(ie. inflammation of vulva and vagina)

Cottage cheese


Inhibited in all strains below pH of 4

 

Now, BV is actually 2x more common than thrust but what happens when either of these are persistent and keep coming back? 

 

Well there are two things to remember: 

  1. These bacteria and Fungi can only replicate and survive in a pH of above 4.5. 
  2. The infection can be due to multiple organisms so you may need multiple and varied treatments. 

 

So, let’s talk about the different medical, natural and holistic treatments for both BV and thrush:

 

Medical Approach:

Thrush

 

  • Typically use canesten cream 
  • May need oral anti-fungal in conjunction with a vaginal pessary/cream.

BV

  • Treatment only recommended if the patient is symptomatic OR if it was picked up subsequently on a cervical screening, only if the patient is having pelvic surgery or procedure (ie. IUD insertion, termination of pregnancy etc)
  • Treatment usually follows the route of Flagyl a type of anti-parasitic (like antibiotic) medication (not recommended in pregnancy/ breastfeeding) 
  • Topical metronidazole may be prescribed instead of the oral medication as it has less systemic effects. 
  • Your doctor may prescribe a topical Clindamycin 2% cream for 7 days if treating BV in pregnancy. 

 

Natural Approach (this applies for both)

  • Focus on balancing vaginal pH (oral and vaginal probiotics) 
  • Look into, EcoVag is a brand of vaginal capsules containing L.Gasseri and L. Rhamnosus which are ‘good’ bacteria that specifically help to balance the pH of the vagina and protect against infections. 

 

Holistic Approach (again these can be applied to both BV and thrush)

  • You may need to focus on clearing the infection first via medical treatment, particularly if it is persistent. 
  • The next step is to really focus on getting your vaginal pH balanced. (if really persistent can help to do both at the same time)
  • Please AVOID DOUCHING, this will disrupt the pH of the vagina and prolong the infection/ put you at risk of other infections. 
  • ‘Acijel’ can be found usually at your local chemist and is a means of decreasing the pH of the vagina 3.9-4.1. Speak to your pharmacist about it. 
  • An important question to ask yourself is why is the pH out of balance in the first place? Are you immunocompromised or functionally immunocompromised. Examples of this include diabetes, or insulin resistance respectively. + mineral imbalances like Zinc, copper, calcium and vitamin D. You can have these checked via a HTMA test 
  • Finally, you should work on getting your whole body functioning better. This includes focusing on the fundamentals: Addressing a dysregulated nervous system, balancing micro and macro nutrients, strong metabolism and stable blood sugars. (for more on this read here)

 

Often when it comes to treating conditions like BV or thrush a holistic approach can be more beneficial i.e., using both a combination of medication and natural remedies. After all, we should be focusing on treating the condition while also figuring out why it is occurring. Remember, you can bandaid the symptoms but if you don’t get to the root cause of the issue, you will need to keep applying those bandaids. 



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