Foul fishy odor from the genital region is an embarrassing situation for any woman. The bad smell can lower a woman’s self esteem and affect the social as well as her intimate personal life. Most often the reason behind bad odor from the vagina is due to gardnerella infection. It is a type of infection in the vagina caused by bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis or Gardnerella mobiluncus.
The condition is commonly known as bacterial vaginosis. Gardnerella bacteria in the vagina are usually harmless, unless they grow in excess leading to bad smell, discharge and other serious symptoms. Gardnerella infection is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD), but it usually affects a woman who is sexually active. Sitting on toilet seat or swimming does not cause bacterial vaginosis.
What Causes Gardnerella Infection?
Normally there are many bacteria living in a woman’s vagina. Some are good and some are bad. But they inhabit without causing any symptoms. This is because, there is balance between the bacterial vaginal flora and it is maintained due to slight acidic pH of the vagina. Gardnerella when present in small number is harmless. It is countered by the good bacteria called lactobacilli, which flourishes in acidic environment of vagina.
However, when circumstances favor as a result of alkaline pH, Gardnerella multiplies uninterruptedly giving rise to unpleasant bacterial vaginosis symptoms. Some of the favorable conditions that encourage the overgrowth of the Gardnerella bacteria are:
- Douching and rigorous washing of the vaginal area.
- Birth control measures such as use of intrauterine device.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency particularly iron and zinc deficiency caused due to poor food intake.
- Stress and improper sleep that may affect indirectly for your decreased food intake.
- Low immune level.
- Pregnancy and after birth of the child. This is because the pH during this period is slightly alkaline.
- Wearing tight fitting clothes, undergarments and garments with synthetic material can trigger the overgrowth of bacteria leading to bacterial vaginosis.
- Sexual intercourse during infection is avoided as the alkalinity of semen will further aggravate the condition.
Symptoms Of Gardnerella
- Vaginal odor: it is one of the most characteristic symptoms of gardnerella infection. Foul fishy smell is emitted from the vagina all the time, which is more pronounced during menses and after a sexual act.
- Discharge: together with bad odor, there is heavy watery discharge from the vagina that too smells foul. The color of the discharge may appear as grey or slight greenish.
- Itching: usually there is no irritation in the vaginal area and so there is no itching. However few women may complain of mild itching in the vagina, especially after sexual intercourse or during menstrual period.
- Occasionally there may be bleeding and pain during intercourse.
- The woman may complain of burning pain while passing urine.
Home Remedies For Gardnerella Vaginalis
The most important thing before initiating the treatment is to distinguish whether the symptoms are due to Gardenerella infection or yeast infection. Yeast infection also produces similar type of symptoms. The treatment for both is different.
The doctor may diagnose Gardenerella infection after clinical examination as well as laboratory test of the discharge. The treatment consists of broad spectrum antibiotics. However, some strains of bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics with its repeated use when the infection occurs frequently. For this reason many prefer natural home remedies for treating gardenerella infection of the vagina.
- Unsweetened yogurt contains good bacteria that are useful in killing Gardenerella. Apply Yogurt to the inner walls of the vagina. Another method is to apply yogurt to the tampon and insert it in the vagina. Replace the tampon after every few hours.
- The wonder herb garlic is also considered as a great remedy for treating bacterial vaginosis. Place few cloves of garlic in the vagina after wrapping it in a piece of gauze. Let the suppository of garlic clove remain for few hours before it is replaced.
- Apple cider vinegar can also cure the infection. Add few drops of apple cider vinegar in the water tub and sit in the tub for half hour two to three times in a day. Avoid sexual intercourse during active stage as it may aggravate the present symptoms.