You're Not Alone: 21 Million Women Suffering from BV
I've had more than a few friends ask, "Sure, milk kefir can help yeast infections but what if I have bacterial vaginosis?"
Kefir grains can help you restore probiotic and pH balance from the inside out. Homemade kefir contains more than three-times more probiotic strains than the fanciest store bought versions. It's natural acidity will also help alkalize your body to help restore pH levels that may have been thrown off by a temporarily poor diet or antibiotic use. I've found that yeast infections and BV can both be treated quite effectively by regularly drinking milk kefir.
The first thing to know is that BV and Yeast Infections are very common and occur due to an imbalance in vaginal flora. Yeast infections are often caused by overgrowth of a fungus called Candida, which is naturally present in the vagina. Half of women will experience a yeast infection by the time they're 25 years old (Geiger AM, Foxman B, Gillespie BW. The epidemiology of vulvovaginal candidiasis among university students. Am J Public Health 1995; 85:1146.) Bacterial Vaginosis is often caused by an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria, which are also naturally present in the vagina. According to the CDC, 21.2 million women in the United States areaffected by BV ( Koumans EH, Sternberg M, Bruce C, McQuillan G, Kendrick J, Sutton M, Markowitz LE. The prevalence of bacterial vaginosis in the United States, 2001-2004; associations with symptoms, sexual behaviors, and reproductive health. Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Nov;34(11):864-9.). That's almost 30% of us experiencing BV today!
A vagina with imbalanced flora is an unhappy vagina. Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections can be quite similar. For example, both BV and yeast infection sufferers may experience discharge and/or itching. This is why I cannot stress the need to be properly diagnosed by a physician and receive preliminary care and rule out any other illness that may also cause these symptoms. Prescription medicines will generally take care of your symptoms from BV and yeast infections. But what do you do when your symptoms won't go away? Or what if your infection keeps cycling from BV to a yeast infection and vice versa? What if you're on medication for the Nth time and are still looking for a lasting solution?
So how does kefir give long-lasting relief for both yeast infections and BV? Well, it's fairly simple in that both infections are caused by an overgrowth of "bad" bacteria. The probiotics in kefir help re-populate the "good" bacteria that will keep the naughty bacteria under control at the source. The bacteria and yeast strains in kefir help restore the balance of our bodies. This is also the case with people who drink kefir for gut-health imbalances such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). When I asked one of my physicians about using probiotics for my vaginal health, he correctly claimed that there is no conclusive medical research that proves probiotics affect vaginal bacterial flora. He may have been right on that answer but thank goodness I didn't wait for a medical journal to prove what I now know. Probiotics really do work to treat your vaginal infections and it is only now being studied by the medical community.
I'm no longer surprised when a new friend of mine tells me about her BV. It's so very common. I no longer hesitate to proclaim my love for kefir and how they TOO must try milk kefir to get rid of their infection. My kefir strain has had a lot of success helping my friends treat their BV. Their symptoms are usually gone in a few days and then they are newly converted kefir evangelists, too! Can't wait for you to give it a try and join us in spreading the good word on kefir!