Girly Juice’s Guide to Bacterial Vaginosis

UGHHH! I hate having BV. I really, really do. I was chatting to my boyfriend about it and started to say, “It is truly one of the worst things that can happen to a vagina,” but then I started thinking about the things that humans do to vaginas (which I can’t go into without a trigger warning) and realized that the things our own bodies do to our vaginas are perhaps not that bad after all.

However. To borrow a gross turn of phrase, bacterial vaginosis sucks donkey balls. And I recently cured myself of it (for the time being?!) with at-home remedies rather than seeing my doctor for antibiotics, so I thought I’d write up a little guide for you lovely people about how you can do that too.

Disclaimer: I am not, in any way, a medical professional. All the advice in this post was gathered from online sources and my own experiments. Use this information at your own risk!

First of all… What the hell is BV?

It’s essentially the result of a bacterial imbalance in the vagina. The good bacteria, which naturally produce hydrogen peroxide to keep the vaginal environment healthfully acidic, lose some kind of battle (see below for ways that this may happen) and then the bad bacteria overpower your poor innocent vagina, wreaking havoc and making your pussy miserable.

You may have BV if…

• You’re experiencing typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection (a burning sensation when you pee, and the persistent feeling of needing to pee) but typical UTI cures aren’t helping.

• Your vaginal discharge smells different – fishy and strong, but not bread-like (that would be a yeast infection, which I can’t advise you on because I’ve never had one).

• It hurts a lot more than usual to be vaginally penetrated. This is often a burning pain.

• Your vagina feels generally sore and unhappy.

What causes BV? Well, anything that causes a bacterial imbalance in the vagina. This may include…

• Wearing underwear, pants, or other lower-body clothing that is too tight and restrictive. Prevent this by wearing looser-fitting clothes on your bottom half, and switching to 100% cotton underwear.

• Getting fecal bacteria in the vagina. Yecch. Always wipe from front to back, don’t wear thongs, and don’t let anything touch your vagina/vulva that’s recently been near an ass.

• Washing your vagina with soap. Some people can handle mild soaps; others can’t handle any at all. Please remember that the vagina is self-cleaning so all you need to do is rinse it with water and a washcloth.

• Leaving an object in your vagina for too long. This could be a menstrual cup, a set of kegel balls, or anything else that gets held in your vag for more than a few hours at a time. You need to take that shit out and wash it every few hours or bacteria will accumulate on it and fuck up your natural chemistry.

• Putting a dirty object or substance inside your vagina. This should be an obvious one. Keep your sex toys clean, don’t use shitty porous sex toys, don’t have sex with anyone who looks like they were recently rolling around in a pigsty, don’t use saliva as lube, and wash your hands before you do any fingerfucking.

• Plain bad luck. Some people are chronic BV sufferers for mysterious reasons. The above precautions may help, as can changing your diet and overall lifestyle, but there are some unknown factors at play for some people.

How do you cure it?

From what I’ve been reading online, it looks like there are 3 basic steps to fixing your vagina when it’s been hit with BV.

1. Kill off the bad bacteria.

2. Re-acidify the vagina.

3. Re-populate with good bacteria.

You will need…

Hydrogen peroxide. I used a 3% concentration and that worked fine, though if your vagina is very sore and sensitive, you may want to dilute it with water.

A syringe (the kind used for administering liquid medication to children) or another tool for getting liquid into your vagina, such as an empty/clean douche or even a turkey baster (again, please make sure it’s CLEAN).

Acidophilus capsules. These should contain at least 10 million active colony-forming cultures of acidophilus, ideally more (I used one that contains 0.4 billion). It can be hard to find capsules that contain just acidophilus; it’s okay if these have other kinds of probiotics in them, as long as they don’t contain any weird additives like sugar, dye, or cranberry extract.

Apple cider vinegar. (By my estimation, this is optional, though you can spring for it if you want to be really thorough.)

Here’s how to do it:

1. Douche with hydrogen peroxide. This kills off the bad bacteria and helps to balance the vagina’s pH. Use the syringe to insert about two tablespoons. Lie on your back and leave it in for about 3 minutes. It may sting a bit. If this is truly painful, dilute the hydrogen peroxide next time.

2. Then, douche with apple cider vinegar. This re-acidifies the vagina. I’m not convinced that this step is necessary, as I feel that the hydrogen peroxide does some re-acidifying as well – plus, vinegar burns like a bitch. If you decide to do this, I strongly recommend that you dilute the vinegar at least 2:1, or even just pour some into your bathwater instead.

3. Before bed, insert an acidophilus capsule. Cut it open or make some holes in it, so that the powder inside can get out. Shove it up as far as you can, so it’ll stay in all night. If it doesn’t come out on its own the next day, you should remove it yourself (I’ve been using my Fun Wand!).

4. Repeat every day until your symptoms are gone. This isn’t like a prescription medication; you shouldn’t continue to do it “just for good measure” if your symptoms are already gone, or you risk over-acidifying your vag, which can lead to its own host of problems. Try to leave at least a couple of hours between the douches and the capsule, so you won’t overload your poor vag.

This worked for me and apparently it’s been successful for others. What home remedies do you use for vaginal issues?

5 Products Your Vagina Needs to Know About

I’ve had two cases of BV and countless UTIs in the past couple years, and as a result, I fret a lot about my vagina these days. There’s nothing actively hazardous about it; it just seems to be prone to problems. In a way, it reminds me of a child who’s particularly nerdy and sensitive, who makes you want to protect him from the bullies at school. Except in this case, the “bullies” are infections.

Because I love you, dear reader, and I care about your vaginal health (or that of the female-bodied folks in your life), here are some items that make my vagina’s life a whole lot easier.

DivaWash. Manufactured by the same people who make the DivaCup, DivaWash is a pH-balanced, all-natural, super gentle cleanser. It’s meant for “face, body, and the DivaCup,” but since one of those things is designed to go inside my vag, I figured the wash itself is vulva-safe. And it is. I’ve been using it as my exclusive vulva-cleansing product for years now (except for this one time when I was on vacation and had to use regular soap, which resulted in a scorching case of BV). It’s soooo gentle and has only the tiniest hint of natural fragrance, so it’s not irritating or drying at all. Of course, the best way to clean a vulva is with plain water, but if you like a leeeetle bit more oomph, DivaWash is the way to go.

D-Mannose. I used to get a urinary tract infection about once a month, seemingly brought on by sex. For those of you who have never had a UTI, trust, it’s miserable. And it can spread to your bladder and then to your kidneys (yes, this happened to me – it’s not fun, don’t do it!). Then someone told me about D-Mannose. It’s a tasteless, odourless powder which you stir into a glass of water and drink up. It makes the insides of your bladder and urinary tract all slippery so the bacteria can’t hang on. Every time I feel a UTI-like twinge of pain, I have some D-Mannose, and the discomfort melts away within hours. It’s a miracle product!

Menstrual cups. Obvi. But please be aware that there are options other than the ones you’ve probably heard of (DivaCup, SoftCups, and maybe the Keeper). I spent a lot of time in the LiveJournal community for cup users when my DivaCup started to fail me, and I found out that not everyone can or should use the same kind of cup. Vaginas come in many different shapes and sizes and the cup selection reflects that! After much experimentation, my cup of choice these days is a large Yuuki. It’s big and firm, never leaks, never feels uncomfortable to me, and basically I want to marry it. What’s your goldilocks cup?

Extra virgin coconut oil. This stuff is flawless. You can use it on your face, hair, body, and – yes! – your vulva. I like it as a lube for my glass and steel toys, and it also works wonderfully as a post-shave moisturizer. (Even better if you can convince your lover to massage it into your skin!)

Plain yogurt. Some people put it in their vagina. I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to do that yet. But, if you’re ever on antibiotics for anything, and you’re even slightly prone to yeast infections, you should get on a daily regimen of eating plain yogurt with active bacterial cultures in it, at least for the duration of your treatment. It’ll keep your vag full of happy bacteria that fights off the bad guys and prevents the Cottage Cheese Discharge of Doom. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I wish you the best of vaginal health, always. ♥

Sharing the Sexy #7

• Here’s the 7 dumbest myths about gay sex.

• Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson is launching a company that sells stylish bowties to benefit pro-gay rights organizations. I don’t know about you, but I love being able to buy cute things and support my favorite causes at the same time!

• This dildo is apparently spiritually charged. Would you buy one?

• This theory of attraction purports to explain why we get into certain kinds of relationships with certain kinds of people.

• This headline is so ridiculous, it requires no commentary: Man Tries to Rape Raccoon, Gets His Penis Bitten Off.

• Got a vaginal infection you want to cure naturally? (I am so amused by the suggestion to put garlic in your vagina. I’ll definitely try this next time I get an infection…!)

• This guy’s penis inhaled a condom…?! “Basically you know when the tip goes inside out and inside your penis? That’s it.” Uh, no, I don’t know if I’ve seen that one before.

• I made a list of examples of how our society actively encourages women to suppress our sexuality. Can you think of any more?

• The Pervocracy writes about that age-old battle: vibrator vs. penis. My thoughts, as someone who owns a zillion vibrators and has a wonderful boyfriend with a wonderful cock? Both are satisfying. Both are immensely pleasurable. And both have their time and place in my life, absolutely.

• Feeling generous? A Steampunk’s Guide to Sex is taking Kickstarter donations.

• In sex-positive circles, we spend a lot of time discussing all the kinky and out-there things we’d like to try… but what don’t you want to do in bed? My list: scat (but I’d give watersports a shot), armpit-licking, group sex with four or more people, ass-to-mouth, and getting fucked with anything over 8 inches long (sorry, huge dudes!).

• This man cut off, cooked, and served his own penis. I’m speechless.

• In honor of Bi Visibility Day, Carrie wrote about being an out-and-proud bisexual. Hell yeah!

• Rush Limbaugh is seriously blaming small penises on feminists. What the fuck is wrong with this guy?