The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
Midwives have long been the guardians of normal physiologic birth, recognizing that labor often does not progress as efficiently and safely
when interrupted by routine procedures or unnecessary interventions.
See also: Probiotics
News flash! Hydrogen Peroxide is not the best cure for BV for NON-PREGNANT women!
Bacterial Vaginosis Treatments Vary in Efficacy, Adverse Effects
Because pregnant women should avoid pharmaceuticals, it might
make sense to try the hydrogen peroxide vaginal washes and the
probiotics and then request a re-test. If the
non-pharmaceuticals haven't cured the BV, it might be best to go
ahead with them. Discuss your options with your healthcare
the Vaginal Microbiome - The Need for a Bridge Between Science
Semin Reprod Med. 2014;32(1):28-34.
produced by Lactobacillus species as a regulatory molecule for
Strus M, Brzychczy-Wloch M, Kochan P, Heczko P.
Med Dosw Mikrobiol. 2004;56(1):67-77.
A total of 33 strains of Lactobacillus belonging to 9 species,
isolated from vagina, were tested for production of hydrogen
peroxide. We observed that the following species: L. delbrueckii,
L. acidophilus, L. crispatus, L. johnsonii and L. gasseri
dominated over other species in secretion of hydrogen peroxide to
the growth medium. Concentration of this substance amounted from
0.05 to 1.06 mM (in case of strong aeration the concentration
increased up to 1.8 mM). Moreover, killing properties of the pure
hydrogen peroxide exerted toward Escherichia coli and Candida
albicans were less prominent than these of the supernatants of
cultures of Lactobacillus strains producing H2O2.
Any time you take a round of antibiotics, it kills off the helpful vaginal flora (helpful germs) that normally live in the vagina, including acidophilus. Acidophilus is perfectly suited to the vaginal walls, and it produces hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct of its metabolism, so once you get a nice colony of acidophilus well established, it will continue to kill any nasty germs that come along, including yeast, Group B Strep, and germs that can cause bacterial vaginosis.
The Vaginal Wash is just to jumpstart the healing, and once the
acidophilus are established, they should keep themselves going, as
long as you're eating well (lots of vegetables and not too much
sugar). Of course, any time you take antibiotics, they're
going to undo all of this, and you'll need to start over again.
[NOTE - This treatment is generally considered safe during pregnancy, but you should check with your healthcare provider first, in case there's something unusual about your situation. If your provider doesn't know anything about this treatment, you can suggest they educate themselves and let you know when they have the answer. If they suggest that alternative remedies are worthless and you should use a pharmaceutical agent instead, they are what I would call a word that starts with an "F" and rhymes with "Cool", or else they just really enjoyed the last conference sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies, and they want to ensure continuing pharmaceutical profits and conferences.]
How to do a vaginal wash:
Thought I would throw in my 2 cents about persistent BV. I
recommend the "saline swish bath" to my clients for persistent BV:
Fill a CLEAN bathtub with about 5-6 inches of bath temp
water. Add 1/2 cup of table salt (good old Morton's),
dissolve it. Then sit in the tub, hold the labia apart with
one hand and gently "swish" the saline bath into the
introitus. If this is done every other night for 3 or 4
nights, it can help to balance the vaginal pH and normalize those
"flora"! I also recommend the swish bath after menses and
after intercourse for women who experience recurrence
routinely. Most of my clients who have used this are very
enthusiastic about it and say it really works.
Some people prefer a vinegar douche, about a tablespoon
to a quart of warm water.
Infection from a naturopathic point of view.
drugs" [Medscape registration is free] - this article
includes treatment for UTI's.
Releases Technical Bulletin on Vaginitis / November 1, 1996.
Vaginitis Mistaken for UTI
From: Cfirstname.lastname@example.org (UPI / LIDIA WASOWICZ, UPI Science Writer)VAGINITIS SCREENING TEST: Litmus Concepts, Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., says it's gotten the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a quick and inexpensive test for a common women's health problem. The FemExam TestCard pH and Amine Test is for detecting vaginal infections, which have been linked to serious health risks. The disposable device is sized and shaped like a credit card. The doctor can perform the test in his or her office and have immediate results. What makes vaginal infections potentially dangerous is that often they have subtle symptoms or no symptoms at all. The new test provides an easy way to detect the problem before complications develop.
Organization: Copyright 1997 by United Press International
Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 0:50:48 PDT
FemExam TestCard pH and Amine Test was approved by the FDA for
U.S. marketing, according to Litmus Concepts. The product is a
rapid, easy-to-use device designed to facilitate routine testing for vaginitis. The new, disposable device is the size of a credit card and allows
health-care providers to conduct initial testing quickly during an office examination. Immediate, colorimetric, qualitative results indicate
whether the patient tests normal or should be further evaluated. To use the product, the physician rubs a cotton swab containing undiluted
vaginal fluid over two circular test areas. One test indicates whether the pH is high or normal, and the second test detects volatile
Litmus Concepts, Inc., Santa Clara, CA, is developing four
patented diagnostic tests that comprise the FemExam TestCard
tests, used primarily in the physician's office, screen and diagnose common vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast and
trichomonasis. The tests are performed by collecting vaginal fluid with a cotton swab and wiping it across the reagent section of the FemExam
card. While a typical vaginosis test performed at an outside laboratory costs about $25.00 to $30.00, the FemExam TestCards are expected
to cost under $10.00.
The Fem Exam card for BV screening is from Cooper Surgical, phone
(800)243-2974. - Item number 52-7464-50 (the 50 part could be
because that's the size box we got). Cost for the box of 50
was $162, plus s&h (total $181).
Phem-Alert probes are a swab for measuring vaginal pH. You
can order them from
3050 Redhill Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
May be charged under CPT code 83986
Miscellaneous Causes of Vaginitis Still within the realm of infectious etiologies are other causes of vaginal discharge. One is termed lactobacillosis or Döderlein cytolysis. This entity is characterized by an overgrowth of the commensal lactobacilli (Fig. 9 shows lactobacilli from vaginal fluid of normal patient); hence, on saline wet mount, one finds an excessive number of bacilli among the background flora. The pH is typically low-normal. Treatment, therefore, is directed at correcting the disruption of the vaginal ecosystem in order to limit the excessive proliferation of these protective organisms. Broad-spectrum antibiotics may lower the proliferation of the lactobacilli, and alkaline (sodium bicarbonate) douches may raise the vaginal pH to restore the ecosystem.
The recognized key to vaginal health and prevention of vaginitis, as Dr. Plourde notes, is presence of H2O2-producing strains of Lactobacillus species. These normally account for >95% of vaginal microflora. Present understanding suggests that maintenance of healthy Lactobacillus and low vaginal pH are mutually-reinforcing factors which reduce infection with various sexually transmitted bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, including HIV-1. Lactobacilli maintain the healthy vaginal ecosystem by at least 3 mechanisms:
Pregnancy [Medscape registration is free]
Jane S Hocking, Rebecca Guy, Jennifer Walker, Sepehr N Tabrizi
Future Microbiol. 2013;8(3):367-386.
Methods for Chlamydial Infection in Women - Urine tests and
other non-invasive tests are being developed.
"In their initial stages, where there's little odor or discharge,
it's occasionally difficult to tell early on if you're sporting a
yeast infection or BV. However, it seems that even mildly
hyperactive yeast colonies will strongly fluoresce under black
light whilst bacterial infections generally don't. This was
inadvertently discovered thanks to exotic dancers. They constantly
come into the hospital hysterical about curing their yeast
infections now now now- they're so black light visible, they drive
the customers off. Funny, huh? Useful, too."
Mount - this instructional web page will help you learn how
to identify trich, yeast and bacterial vaginosis.
Quest Diagnostics offers a Bacterial
/ Vaginitis Panel (Quest
16760), which is highly sensitive and specfic for
Trichomonas, G. vaginalis, and Candida. It uses the Affirm™
VPIII Ambient Temperature Transport System (ATTS).
full list of STD/STI tests.
see also: Breastfeeding/Thrush
I can recommend a few immediate things to do...
Number 1 is you MUST starve yeast from their food source which is sugar and simple carbs - and I mean ALL of it. I also suggest completely illuminating all of the following: alcohol, vinegar (which is in everything), caffeine, all yeasted products,and all fungus products (mushrooms, kombucha, etc.). So set in for a few days of headache from both the caffeine and carb withdrawal. Eat high protein, healthy fat, nuts and seeds (avoid peanuts, cashews, and pistachios) and tons of veggies. Keep your carb servings to one small serving a day (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc.).
Number 2- use herbs to kill off the yeast- there are many great remedies out there, contact your local herbalist or ND. You can do both herbal suppositories and orally.
Number 3- replace your damaged flora with healthy probiotics. What probiotics do is they do the work that your normal gut is supposed to do while your normal flora is working on re-colonizing. Jarrow formulas has a great allergy formula that is in the refrigerated section of your health food store.
Unfortunately this is a one month cycle for full yeast
die-off. And if you are chronically infected- or it is more
of a systemic problem- then you are looking at least 2 months die
Linda Page's book, Healthy
Healing is the most valuable holistic health reference book
I've seen for non-professionals. Her nutritional supplements are
well formulated and high quality and are especially helpful for
people who are new to the use of herbs for holistic health.
Naturopaths tell me that caprylic acid is gentle enough for
children and pregnant women.
Yeast Infections from Shonda Parker,
author of Naturally Healthy Living eNewsletter
The WholeApproach Candida
I've found that Flax Oil prevents/cures my problems with yeast.
lactobacillus in preventing post-antibiotic vulvovaginal
candidiasis: a randomised controlled trial. [Full
Pirotta M, Gunn J, Chondros P, Grover S, O'Malley P, Hurley S, Garland S.
BMJ. 2004 Aug 27
"The use of oral or vaginal forms of lactobacillus to prevent post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis is not supported by these results."
[Maybe the study tested women too soon after abx... Day 4 after
finishing the meds right? It can take a while for oral
lactobacilli to re-colonize the vagina and fight off yeast etc.]
Sources for alternative treatment supplies:
GY-NA-TREN includes MEGADOPHILUS dairy-free capsules for oral use, and inserts for vaginal application. [From Natren]
Fem-Dophilus - 100 Capsules Non-dairy JAR304 from Holistic International in Canada
Kit - Pro-Biotic Suppositories (FEM-DOPHILUS™) by Jarrow
Formulas, 10 Capsules and Applicator for Vaginal Use (Each 1 gram
capsule contains 4 billion organisms.) and Citricidal® Vaginal
Rinse Grapefruit Seed Extract by NutriBiotic, 100 mgs.
[Do a product search for Pro-Femm Kit.] They may
have other Candida
Thrush by Nikki Macfarlane
1. Use homeopathic calendula soap rather than normal soap. Wash
genitals with hand rather than cloth.
2. Go without underpants or wear cotton boxer shorts.
3. Eat fresh garlic often, live yoghurt and pure unrefined olive oil. The olive oil contains oleic acid which can prevent candida growth, but it must be eaten raw - e.g.. on salads. It can be beneficial to take one tablespoon daily.
4. Live yoghurt onto a tampon then inserted into the vagina at night, washing it off in the morning.
5. A few tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in the bath can ease itching and reduce acidity.
6. Chamomile cream applied to the vulva several times a day to ease itching. Alternatively sit in a bath of strong chamomile tea or wash the vulva with chamomile tea with 10 drops of calendula tincture added.
7. Sepia 6C (homeopathy) taken 3 times a day for up to one week, stopping when symptoms stop, can be beneficial.
8. Drink teas of chamomile, fennel or calendula 3 times daily.
9. Baths with salt added can ease the discomfort. Also, one tablespoon of lemon juice added to 300ml of water used to wash the vulva 2-3 times a day can help.
10. Reduce stress!!!!!!
An excerpt from a Mothering magazine article on the subject:
Many times father and siblings require lower-level
treatment as well. In cosleeping arrangements, all members who
sleep in close contact with each other should be treated. Yeast
infections can be challenging because treatment must be continued
for two weeks after symptoms subside. Personal hygiene matters in
yeast control. While antibacterial soaps are promoted for new
parents, they may contribute to yeast overgrowth by killing "good"
bacteria. Still, it is important to wash your hands with warm
water and soap after diaper changes and using the bathroom. In
addition, short-term switching to paper towels as a drying method
(single use only) can help stop the spread. Temporary use of
disposable diapers may help, too. Family members should use a
spray bottle of vinegar solution (1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
to 1 cup of water) to spray any areas on their bodies that stay or
get moist (pubic areas, armpits, under breasts and under any folds
of skin). This routine should be followed at least twice a day by
those who are not symptomatic and four times a day by those who
display symptoms, and continued for two weeks beyond the time that
anyone shows symptoms. Bath towels should not be shared, and
ideally should only be used once. If laundering after each
u! se seems extreme, then they must be allowed to thoroughly
dry after every use. Additionally, items such as toothbrushes and
makeup can also harbor yeast spores. Every family member should
get a new toothbrush once the anti-yeast regimen is begun, and
then again when all symptoms disappear. No cornstarch powders or
deodorants should be used, as they are a food source for yeast.
My favorite remedy is for thrush/yeast infections. Because it is so new to the market there is not much information on it except one book (The Cure is in the Cupboard) that I could find. It is oil of oregano! It has been performing just as the book said it would on fungal, viral and bacterial infections.
Being a lactation consultant I mostly deal with breastfeeding problems and the number of yeast infections is just tremendous these days! Sore nipples from yeast have been responding almost immediately and some had already been through the Nystatin route without relief. Most use two drops under the tongue three times a day (it is really strong so a water chaser is helpful or it can be put in juice). Two drops in a teaspoon of olive oil and rubbed on baby's feet can treat them. That same solution can be applied topically to the nipple.
When I have used it my husband tells me I have the breath of a
thousand pizzas or he at least accuses me of eating pizza mints!
I like the Homeopathic
from Yeast-Gard. They have a variety of
homeopathic remedies for yeast infections. These are
generally considered safe for use during pregnancy and
breastfeeding as the active ingredients are all highly diluted.
The Candida Page -
Candida Albicans/Candidiasis Web Sites
infection - homepage (Not for those easily offended!)
Guide to Yeast Free
Living - from "The Marnie Ko Collection" on Nurturing Online
Infections section from Normal Changes of Pregnancy
From an Interview with Dr. Christiane Northrup
If it's a first time yeast infection, Monistat® or Gynolotrimon® is perfectly safe. If that doesn't work, I would use 500mg boric acid capsules, which your formulary pharmacy or any pharmacist can make up, in the vagina or a boric acid douche. Or you might use Tea Tree oil as a douche, just a small amount in water that's anti fungal. The old paradigm is seeing the yeast as the enemy so the yeast has to be eliminated. So we kill the yeast. The new paradigm says: what is it that is causing the imbalance in the body in the first place? What is allowing yeast which is normally there, to over grow?
Years ago, someone, maybe Valerie Hobbs, recommended motherwort
for yeast infections, and it has always worked very well for
me. I use a strong tea (infusion?) to soak a couple of gauze
4x4s, and tuck them in like a tampon at bedtime, Usually one
night will do it, occasionally it's taken a couple nights if I've
waited a while hoping that it really wasn't yeast and would go
away on i's own. I too have read that this is not good for
pg, so don't use it then, but have often wondered if that amount
of exposure would cause problems.
Yeast infections are a very common gynecological problem. It has
been shown that garlic kills yeast in laboratory petri dishes
and it has been documented that garlic kills yeast infections in large animals like cows
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE:
In the event that you think you are suffering from a vaginal yeast infection, here is what you do. As soon as you feel itchy, look at the type of discharge in your vagina. You can put a finger in and if you see white dots or clumps on your finger, You most likely have a yeast infection. If the discharge is watery Yellow or green, then it is likely to be a different sort of infection,
Here is the PROTOCOL:
If you first noticed the infection now, and there is only slight irritation and not too much discharge, take a clove of garlic(One section of the bulb). Cut it in half and peel it. Take one half and insert it into your vagina as far as you comfortably can. Do this at bedtime. In the morning remove the clove of garlic, the infection should be gone.
If the infection has been there for a few days and there is a moderate amount of irritation and discharge, repeat the above instructions for one or two or three nights.
The reason that I instruct people to insert it at night, is that
as soon as you insert it, you will get the taste of garlic in your
I think this would bother most people when they are awake, but it is not a bother when one is sleeping.
If the infection is very slight , an uncut clove of garlic may be
enough to cure you . The dose of garlic depends on how much
of the inside of the clove is exposed to the yeast.
I have doubts about putting minced garlic on tissues that are irritated from a yeast infection, but one of my friends swears by this:
"This works great for yeast infections.... Minced garlic on a pantyliner...one clove or two depending on how bad the infection is.... should only take one or two days to subside mostly. To tackle the remaining infection I use about 1oz of grapeseed oil with 2 or 3 drops of Tea Tree essential oil mixed in and coat it on a tampon (ob works best since there is no applicator)"
Grapefruit seed extract works GREAT on yeast and to fight off a cold, sore throat etc. This stuff taken internally works better than Monistat 7 externally. No kidding! And it's safe in pregnancy, too, according to my resident doctor.
I take 10 drops in ORANGE JUICE since it's super super bitter 3
times a day. I'm not yelling just putting on the emphasis that
orange juice seems to be the best medium to use since it covers up
the taste. It comes in capsules as well but I like knowing the
liquid form is passing over the mucous membranes when drinking it.
It's an anti-microbial.
I just advise plain old salt or even baking soda baths. The idea
is strong salty solutions are mildly germicidal and soothing to
tissues. If they add baking soda it helps to make a change in the
natural acidity/alkalinity and can add a knock-out blow to
resident yeasts and nasties.
Using the principle that yeast doesn't grow well in a salty
environment, I tried using a salt deodorant stick under my breasts
and in some other folds of the skin that were harboring
yeast. This seemed to allow my body to focus more on
controlling the overgrowth of vaginal yeast. (NOTE - If the
skin starts to burn, then you've used too much . . . cut back
until you find the level that discourages the yeast but doesn't
irritate your skin.)
Vitamin D Insufficiency Linked To Bacterial Vaginosis In Pregnant Women
ScienceDaily (May 21, 2009) Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in US women of childbearing age, and is common in pregnant women. BV occurs when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria. Because having BV puts a woman at increased risk for a variety of complications, such as preterm delivery, there is great interest in understanding how it can be prevented. Vitamin D may play a role in BV because it exerts influence over a number of aspects of the immune system.
vitamin D deficiency is associated with bacterial vaginosis in
the first trimester of pregnancy.
Bodnar LM, Krohn MA, Simhan HN.
J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1157-61. Epub 2009 Apr 8.
Is Bacterial Vaginosis? What Causes Bacterial Vaginosis?
Clindamycin Prolongs Gestation in Women With Bacterial Vaginosis [Medscape registration is free]
and preterm birth after treatment with clindamycin: a randomised
consent design study according to Zelen.
Larsson PG, Fahraeus L, Carlsson B, Jakobsson T, Forsum U; Premature study group of the Southeast Health Care Region of Sweden.
BJOG. 2006 Jun;113(6):629-37.
CONCLUSIONS: Clindamycin vaginal cream therapy was associated
with significantly prolonged gestation and reduced cost of
neonatal care in women with BV. Early screening for BV and
treatment with clindamycin saved approximately 27 euro per woman.
[Ed: This study compared treatment with clindamycin vaginal cream
against no treatment. Presumably, any effective treatment
would have beneficial effects, including hydrogen peroxide vaginal
Novel bacterial vaginosis species identified
of bacteria associated with bacterial vaginosis.
Fredricks DN, Fiedler TL, Marrazzo JM.
N Engl J Med. 2005 Nov 3;353(18):1899-911.
CONCLUSIONS: Women with bacterial vaginosis have complex vaginal
infections with many newly recognized species, including three
bacteria in the Clostridiales order that were highly specific for
- Feb., 2005 - Antibiotic treatment can eradicate bacterial
vaginosis in pregnancy. However, this review provides little
evidence that screening and treating all pregnant women with
asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis will prevent preterm birth and
its consequences. For women with a previous preterm birth, there
is some suggestion that treatment of bacterial vaginosis may
reduce the risk of preterm prelabour rupture of membranes and low
for probiotics to prevent bacterial vaginosis and preterm labor.
Reid G, Bocking A.
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Oct; 189(4): 1202-8.
BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS DURING PREGNANCY - [Medscape
registration is free.]
A New Perspective - BV type II should be deemed an STD. To
safeguard the health of women with this entity, concomitant
infection caused by the major STD pathogens must be sought for and
eradicated when identified. [Medscape registration is free.]
peroxide vaginal douching versus single-dose oral metronidazole
for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis: a randomized
Chaithongwongwatthana S, Limpongsanurak S, Sitthi-Amorn C.
J Med Assoc Thai. 2003 Jun;86 Suppl 2:S379-84
"CONCLUSION: Single hydrogen peroxide vaginal douching was less effective than a single oral dose of metronidazole in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis."
This is a really odd study in that they don't seem to be trying to find the best treatment for BV in a holistic sense, i.e. what makes most sense and works best for most women. For example, it makes sense to me that you might need more treatments of a milder form of treatment, such as hydrogen peroxide. But it seems much better to have more treatments of something that has NO bad side effects than to have even one treatment of a pharmaceutical agent that carries risk . . . substantial risk for pregnant women!
Hydrogen peroxide even in a single dose is almost as effective as metronidazole; it's cheaper; it's easily available without a prescription and it's safe for women to self-diagnose and self-treat with hydrogen peroxide for this condition.
The only purpose of this study seems to be to increase business
for the medical or pharmaceutical industries.
vaginosis--an old approach to a new problem.
Winceslaus SJ, Calver G
Int J STD AIDS 1996 Jul;7(4):284-7
Hydrogen peroxide (3%) used as a single vaginal wash was as effective as any other agent in current use in clearing the vaginal malodour of bacterial vaginosis at 3 weeks after treatment.
Prevent Preterm Delivery in Pregnant Women with Asymptomatic
Bacterial Vaginosis. [Medline
Carey JC, Klebanoff MA, Hauth JC, et al.
N Engl J Med 2000 Feb 24;342(8):534-540
Conclusions: The treatment of asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women does not reduce the occurrence of preterm delivery or other adverse perinatal outcomes.
Client Handout for Bacterial Vaginosis by
Singingtree, CPM, LM, Updated 12/99
Forty-six premenopausal women had both vaginal pH determinations and cultures (women with yeast were excluded). Of the 34 with a vaginal pH above 4.5, 33 were culture-positive for a bacterial pathogen. In contrast, none of the 12 with a pH of 4.5 or less had a bacterial pathogen. The pH test was not predictive of BV in postmenopausal women.
Comment: This study suggests that pH testing of the outer third of the vaginal wall accurately identifies BV in asymptomatic premenopausal women. It would be helpful to repeat the study in patients with symptomatic vaginitis.
AU.-Caillouette JC et al.
TI.-Vaginal pH as a marker for bacterial pathogens and menopausal status.
SO.-Am J Obstet Gynecol 1997;176:1270-7.
I think the thinking is the peroxide re-established the vaginal flora, and I would doubt it would have a problem with pregnancy.....you wouldn't be trying to use this and also have intercourse. Also implied this is a one time treatment that is highly effective. A good plan would be to do this immediately following a period, as this is a time when some women notice more BV.
Daphne also included this in her BV handout: Hydrogen peroxide
douches: Instead of high pressure douches we recommend vaginal
washes: Take a 30-cc syringe place three cc of hydrogen peroxide
and fill the rest with distilled water. Insert (without the
needle) the syringe in your vagina, about an inch and gently push
the fluid in. Do this once a day for seven days.
Conference-Tx for BV- 3% Hydrogen Peroxide 30cc(1 T) put in
vagina for 3 minutes(doing a hip tilt) supposedly cures 75% of
women-one time only treatment.
I treat all BV in pregnancy:
1st trimester - clindamycin 300mg BID x 7
2nd & 3rd trimester - metronidazole 500mg BID x 7
It is OK now to use metronidazole in the first trimester. No
I would like to know if any of you have an effective natural
treatment for vaginal GBS. I have had women use hydrogen peroxide,
vinegar and garlic, and golden seal douches. None of these have
gotten rid of or even reduced the colony count. My thinking is I
would like to reduce or obliterate our risk if possible. Any
The reason that vaginal rx does not work is that the reservoir
for GBS is the rectum. Since there is close proximity of the
rectum and the vagina, it is impossible to get rid of vaginal GBS.
In fact, the CDC protocols (regardless of which intrapartum arm
one decides to follow) specifically state no treatment of GBS
during pregnancy.....it's just a waste of time, alters the
vaginal flora and ultimately does no good.
I've used echinacea as a vaginal wash (versus douche) for bacterial vaginosis with good success and feel that it will be equally effective against b strep--some nice proper studies need to be done, somebody! This is safe for pregnancy.
I recommend 2 droppersful of echinacea tincture in 1 cup warm
water. I suggest to my clients that they get in the (empty) tub,
scooch down, open their labia with their fingers and pour the warm
solution into their vagina. (or they can use a short plastic
funnel to direct it) then I tell them to put their fingers in and
swoosh it around for a while, trying to get it into crevasses and
folds (gently of course). After a while (your tailbone won't like
the tub too long) just sit up, let whatever wants to run out do
so, get out, wipe off! It can be repeated bid for a couple of days
as nec, but for bacterial vaginosis, once is often adequate. I
haven't done culture studies--the combination of
comes-back-negative-even -without-treatment is too bothersome for
my non-research oriented mind, and it was not a treatment chosen
by very many of our clients.(Oh, well) Now I'm not working and
don't have access to a population for study- so somebody go for
If someone was + for strep and didn't choose antibiotics, vaginal
washes q3days or so the end of pregnancy (or weekly, maybe) and
then once in very early labor, (thoroughly and gently) would
protect the baby quite nicely I would think--at least from vaginal
This is taken from "Herbal Healing for Women" by Rosemary Gladstar, a must have book for anyone interested in herbs!!
"Gardnerella is a yellow, white or mucusy discharge which may or may not have blood in it. It is usually accompanied by itching or vaginal irritation and sometimes cystitis-like symptoms...The odor can be especially strong-smelling and rather fishy. Some cases of gardnerella are asymptomatic and are only found by a pap smear. In much the same way as other yeast infections, gardnerella often begins when a woman's natural resistance is lowered by anxiety, tension, lack of sleep, poor diet, sexual activity with an infected partner, birth control pills and other medications and/or an imbalanced diet.
To combat bacterial infections, eat plenty of garlic - a safe natural antibiotic - and eat a diet rich in high-quality protein...Be sure to eat a diet rich in a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Concentrate on B vitamin complex and vitamin C, E and A. Comfrey/oatstraw tea is highly recommended, both as a preventative and a remedy. An excellent tonic high in protein, vitamins and minerals and rich in chlorophyll, comfrey/oatstraw tea is a natural cleanser of the system.
For the itching...apply a comfrey/St. John's Wort salve directly on the lips and inside the vagina. Medicinal Yoni Powder should be sprinkled over the area several times daily. This will not only help with the odor but, more important, help heal the infection. Cultured buttermilk or yogurt applied directly to the area of irritation is very soothing and healing. Insert the yogurt inside the vagina using your fingers or a tampon applicator. At first the yogurt may burn slightly, but the burning sensation will quickly pass...Gently douche with the following formula every 2 days until the infection clears.
*Apple Cider Vinegar Douche*
1 qt. warm water
2 tbls. apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp. garlic oil
*Abstain from intercourse - it is easily spread...and avoids
*Help acidify your system by drinking 8oz of unsweetened cranberry juice every day.
1 c. fine white clay
1/2 c. cornstarch
2 tbs. black walnut hull powder
2 tbs. myrrh powder
1 tbs goldenseal powder
1-2 drops of tea tree oil"
I personally found that tea tree oil works wonders on yeast
infections and may have the same effect on gardnerella. Simply put
15-20 drops of the oil on a tampon and insert, leave in for 24
hours. You can also make a douche with tea tree oil: 8-10 drops
per 1pint of water or 10 drops in a bath. There are also tea tree
oil suppositories at the health food store. I highly recommend
trying tea tree oil first because it is so effective. Your client
will want to tell the whole world it is that great! Let me know
what happens - I am always curious to hear results so I know that
my recommendations are on track.
I am working a specific protocol and survey for "alternative" treatments, but been too busy to get it done. I will post here when it is ready (the summer went by too fast, I'm in love). In the meantime, here is what my research has shown to be effective. If you use this or anything else please document all methods you hear about, what method you use for diagnosis, and what works and let me know. I have a lot of references on this condition & the following treatments, I don't have time to post them tonight but e-mail me privately and I will send them soon.
I am currently using two methods; the first is hydrogen peroxide vaginal washes: It is easy, cheap & hydrogen peroxide is what the vagina produces naturally to clean bacteria. If that doesn't work I use tea tree oil suppositories 1xnight for 7 nights (I get mine from Eclectic 1-800-332-HERB). I also recommend echinacea & vit. C internally. If all that fails then I have them do the cleocin or the metrogel in the last trimester.
Directions for hydrogen peroxide washes:
Take a 30 cc syringe (without the needle) place 3 cc of hydrogen peroxide and fill the rest with distilled water. Insert the syringe in the vagina about an inch and push the fluid in. Do this once a day for seven days.
During treatment period the partner should wear condoms during
intercourse. To prevent recurrences the partner should wash after
intercourse with a mild antibacterial soap (like dial).
Flagyl is a heavy-duty drug, but nothing else really works for
trich and it's very effective against BV, as well. I'm amazed that
her doctor called Flagyl and Clindamycin "dangerous".
Flagyl had a terrible reputation around here, supposed to cause birth defects if used in pregnancy and on our initial risk assessment forms (taken directly from our local teaching hospital in 1981 --we used a "RISK FACTOR SCORING" system then) "use of flagyl in pregnancy" was rated a "5" - the highest score!
I never could get good info on why it was supposed to be so awful
- but everybody "knew" it was[grin]... Can anyone enlighten???!
Flagyl (metronidazole) may be carcinogenic, and can cause birth defects and gene mutations (thus affecting more than one generation!). It enters the bloodstream and lowers the WBC, decreasing immune response. IT SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN BY A PREGNANT WOMAN OR A WOMAN WITH PEPTIC ULCERS. It should not be taken by anyone with an infection elsewhere in the body, anyone with a history of blood disease, or anyone with a disease of the CNS. Never drink alcohol or use vinegar at all until the course of treatment is completed. In combination with Flagyl, alcohol and/or vinegar can cause nausea, vomiting, sweating, and weakness.
An alternative pharmaceutical for trich is vag suppositories of Betadine. Make your own---it's cheaper!
Natural remedies include garlic vag suppositories and garlic oil capsules. To do a garlic supp, peel a clove of garlic (careful not to nick it or it burns!) and wrap it in gauze, twisting into a tail. Insert like a tampon. Replace every 4 hours or so. Also a good treatment for yeast.
Another is boric acid capsules. These can also burn but are very effective. Fill a size "00" capsule with boric acid powder and insert 2 capsules as deeply as possible in the vagina. Repeat once a day for 7 days. Wear a pad as there may be extra discharge. Many women report a burning sensation the first couple of days. DO NOT TAKE CAPSULES ORALLY!
Vinegar douches can be helpful because trich grows best in an alkaline environment. Herbal "tea" can be added for increased effect. Try making a tea of 2 parts sage, 2 parts raspberry leaf, 2 parts mullein and 1/4 part goldenseal root. Boil 1 quart water and steep herbs in it, tightly covered, for 1 hour. Strain and add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon acidophilus culture or 1/4 cup yogurt, and a tiny drop of tea tree oil. Mix well and allow to cool to warm but not hot. Douche gently with a slow flow every couple of days.
Another formula is an oral capsule consisting of 2 parts chaparral powder, 1 part osha root powder, 2 parts pau d'arco powder and 1/2 part black walnut hull powder. Take 2 capsules 3x daily until symptoms disappear.
As with any natural or herbal remedy, the above-mentioned
suggestions are merely offered as traditional women's wisdom and
should be used carefully, with respect. One should never use any
remedy one is not familiar with without competent supervision.
Does anyone have any homeopathic remedies for chronic gardnerella
in non-pregnant or pregnant women? I have several non-pregnant
patients who have been treated with metronidazole, metro-gel,
clindamycin p.o. and vaginal cream, acidophilus p.o and baking
I would like to point out something that I learned (or maybe re-learned?) at the conference I went to recently. The session was on vaginitis and a portion on the lecture was on Bacterial Vaginosis, which is what we now call what used to be called Gardnerella. The important point that the lecturer made, in my opinion, is that Gardnerella is now known to be only a co-factor in BV. It is not diagnostic!! Up to 50% of healthy women (i.e. no BV) have Gardnerella as part of their normal flora - in the absence of clue cells or other sx of BV, it should be ignored.
A client who transferred to my practice from another CNM in the area was really concerned about this. The other CNM had diagnosed BV based on an initial vaginal culture, though the client had no sx whatsoever and no wet mount was done to confirm. She was told how dangerous BV is and rx'd with Flagyl in the 1st trimester, but didn't take it. After coming home from the conference, I went back to her old records and sure enough, the culture picked up Gardnerella alone. We now feel pretty comfortable leaving it without tx.
If BV is diagnosed through sx and a wet mount showing clue cells with few or no WBC and decreased lactobacilli, the tx regimens she recommended are:
Metronidazole 500 mg orally BID x 7 days
Metronidazole gel 0.75%, 5 gms intravaginally BID x 5 days (may be dropped to a once daily dose soon)
Clindamycin 2% cream, 5 gms intravaginally qHS x 7 days
Clindamycin 300 mg orally BID for 7 days
She recommended against using Ampicillin, triple sulfa cream, acigel, iodine solutions, or other antibiotics. Recurrence rate is up to 80% in the first nine months, so it obviously has a tendency to be stubborn. Treating the partners has not been shown to decrease the recurrence rate.
Incidentally, in treating BV in pregnancy, using oral
metronidazole rather than vaginal apparently leads to fewer cases
of preterm labor. Might be esp. important in women with PTL risk
factors. Shucks - I really hate using the oral stuff during
pregnancy and probably continue to avoid it if possible.
I don't know about remedies for a "persistent" yeast infection,
but for your standard garden-variety yeast infection I've had
great success with application of essential oils of lavender
and/or tea tree. Usually I've just poured about a tablespoon of
carrier oil (e.g. sweet almond oil) into the palm of my hand, then
added a few drops of said essential oils. Then I apply it both
internally (vaginally, that is -- not orally) and around the
vagina. After doing this morning and night for a day or two, I've
Try a sitz bath with four to six drops of tea tree oil in it
swish water around vagina stay in tub for at least ten minutes.
You can also add myrrh to this. Keep vagina dry. Try wearing a
dress with no underwear for a few days. Also I make a oil with
lavender and myrrh. 2 drops Myrrh, 4 drops lavender, to
1/2floz(15ml/2 1/tsp.) of carrier lotion or oil. I use apricot
kernel oil for a carrier and use this on the outer lips of vagina
it might burn a bit if vagina is very irritated. Try to avoid
intercourse for a while. These recipes came from Aromatherapist
Shirley Price. I have tried everything and I think ultimately the
aromatherapy really helped. Give some of the oil to your partner
too. Also I think standing meditation has really helped too.
Take odorless garlic, Citrimax (or other grapefruit seed extract
capsules), acidophilus, and vitamin C 3 times a day. Also don't
use any soap other than perhaps a very mild liquid baby soap
(regular soaps are too alkaline), go without underwear, and CHANGE
YOUR DIET! Eliminate all processed foods, white flour, white
sugar, and nitrate-preserved meats. Concentrate on whole foods
with a minimal amount of fruits. Avoid canned fruit juices. You
can also use a douche of liquid Citrimax (or other comparable
product), tea tree oil, and acidophilus.
In cases of persistent yeast infection, diabetes and immune-compromising conditions should be ruled out. Other common causes are antibiotics, stress, and vitamin b deficiency.
In addition to applying plain live yogurt topically, anyone who has a persistent yeast infection should eliminate sugar and yeast from her diet, at least temporarily. Taking acidophilus might also be helpful.
Anne McIntyre recommends sitting in a bowl of dilute vinegar or lemon juice (one part to three parts water) to correct pH imbalance. She also recommends eating plenty of garlic, cold pressed olive oil, and taking an anti-fungal caprylic acid supplement, and douching once a day with a tea made from thyme, calendula, golden seal, chamomile or myrrh. (Reference, The Complete Woman's Herbal)
There are a lot of books on this topic alone! Look under candida
albicans at the library/bookstore.
I wanted to put out my experience with Boric Acid in pregnancy. I used it myself quiet successfully non pregnant and asked another midwife about its use in pregnancy, with her support I went on to suggest it to my clients. Three women in one year had PROM (37 and half weeks, 38, and 39) while using it late in their pregnancies. (Since then I have been reprimanded by a good friend midwife that I respect that I should have known better not to use it-oh well-live and learn)
It was quite clear that all membrane rupture occurred during the use of the Boric Acid and all without any labor or signs of labor. I was lucky that we managed to get all three to birth at home, but not without Prolonged rupture and castor oil and every other natural induction we could think of to accomplish this.
Without a doubt I feel that Boric Acid works to get yeast infections under control, it is awfully stringent and leaves the tissue in great need of rebuilding its healthy flora. It might have properties that break down the mucous and membranous tissues. I always suggest some yogurt after only one or two doses. Now for pregnancy I would not have women use it again with the experience I had with PROM certainly not in capsule form so close to the cervix.
Now how about having someone sit in a shallow bath with Boric
Acid powder added and let it flow up into the vagina and then
using yogurt suppository as an option? I would feel that to
be far less likely to disturbed the mucous or membranes.
I've heard that boric acid is effective against yeast without
bothering the acidophilus. Perhaps this is because
acidophilus is ACID LOVING, thus the name ACIDO-PHILUS.
I HAVE written about this in MT and so...the beat goes on.
I think in solution it is ok, but not in a capsule. Maybe a
tsp in a cup of h2o.
I think it must have been some kind of fluke. I've known
DOZENS of women using boric acid capsules in pregnancy without
problems -- certainly nothing as obvious as ROM! Boric acid
capsules are pretty much the first thing recommended here for
stubborn yeast or BV. Lots of experience in my region with
it. I think if there were a problem we would have seen it already.
From reading your post on Boric Acid I was spurred to think about
my experiences with it during pregnancy. I am not so sure
that I would not use it during late pregnancy as I am not sure
which came first-- the infection that predisposes the ROM--- or
the use of the Boric Acid. I would really like to look into
this issue at greater detail. I myself have not had any
increase in rupture with the use of Boric Acid.
If you're not pregnant and want to try boric acid, you can shop
I am now prescribing a vaginal suppository of tea tree oil which
is formulated for yeast. Having tremendous success.
I recommend Tea Tree Oil suppositories. Just the oil in
cocoa butter. Work great.
Don't those suppositories burn like the dickens? One of my
clients said she almost cried. Had to take it out.
Try "Tea Tree Vaginal Suppositories" by Thursday Plantation, and
you can have your health food store order it through Natures
Plus. It is 200mg tea tree oil in vegetable oil base.
I believe tea tree oil should always be diluted when used on the
skin or mucous membranes. The straight stuff would
While dilution on the mucous membranes is true, tea tree is one
of the essentials that may be used "neat" (without dilution) on
the skin with out fear of tissue damage. The other is
The recommendations below reference quite a few different herbs and essential oils, which can be overwhelming. You can purchase a packet of Afterbirth Sitz Herbs, which is an herbal blend including Uva ursi leaf, yarrow flowers, sage leaf, comfrey leaf and root, plantain leaves, witch hazel bark, sea salt. They say "One 5 oz package provides enough herbs for 4-5 baths.", but since you're using much smaller amounts of water, you can use smaller amounts of herbs, too. I would guess that a packet of herbs could be used for at least 15 penile soaks.
The essential oils can be a bit pricey, but they last a long
time. It's always good to have tea tree oil around, anyway,
for minor skin infections, and the lavender smells nice. You
can buy those two at Whole Foods - I'm not sure about the
Bergamot. Be sure to get organic blends!!!
"This technique for male hygiene and external herbal therapy was originated and is strongly suggested by a clinical herbal therapist named Cascade Anderson-Geller. One can think of this as a male (reverse) douche to be used if you itch, after making love, or any other time you suspect a problem. Without question, it is most important for a male whose female partner may have a vaginal malady to use these penis soaks. Many of these vaginal/uterine infections such as gardnerella, trichomonas, monilia (yeast and candida) chlamydia, urethritis, etc., are transmitted or re-infected by the male member during intercourse. The microorganisms are passed back and forth between partners to the chagrin of both, especially the female. Most often the male, because he doesn't offer as perfect a breeding arena, doesn't experience the symptoms as intensely and uncomfortably as the female. At the same time both partners must work to bolster their immune systems.
To perform a penis soak simply hold a drinking glass filled with a strong infusion or decoction of appropriate herbs and hang in there for 5-10 minutes. (If you are not circumcised retract the foreskin throughout the soak). The tea should be as warm as possible. It is helpful to include the testicles in the soak, too, so you might graduate to a vase or a jar as a container.
In general, I recommend using combinations of strong aromatic herbs for this male herbal soak, such as equal parts of yarrow, sage, Lavender, and Chaparral. You can include one to two drops of Tee Tree oil, Lavender, and Bergamot. Disperse the oils well, soak for 5-10 minutes at least once but preferably 2-3 times a day.
......when communicable infection is involved between caring lovers, each partner has a responsibility to the mutual care. No matter how absurd the image of this therapy strikes you, in time when your female partner is stressed with recurring vaginal infection, the most chivalrous act is a daily hygienic penis soak until the cycle of re-infection has been stopped. Words of love are merely promises."
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