A Natural Approach to Bacteria Vaginosis

A Natural Approach to Bacteria Vaginosis

What is BV?
What causes BV
What are the symptoms?
Herbal Suppositories
Bacterial Vaginosis Herbal Blend
Simple Herbal Suppository Recipe

Typically there are “good” (lactobacilli) and “bad” (anaerobes) bacteria in your vagina. The good bacteria help to control the growth of the bad bacteria. The discharge and odor of your vagina can change when this natural balance is upset. Women in their reproductive years are most likely to get bacterial vaginosis, but it can affect women of any age. 

What is BV?

Bacterial Vaginosis or BV is a common inflammation/infection that is usually triggered by a change in you vagina’s pH. BV is typically a mild problem that will normally go away on it’s own after a few days, however; it can lead to more serious issues, if it last longer or isn’t addressed.

What causes BV

The cause isn't completely understood, but certain activities, such as unprotected sex or frequent douching, increase your risk. Hormonal changes, including during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can all affect you vagina’s pH.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom is a smelly vaginal discharge. It may look grayish white or yellow. A sign of bacterial vaginosis can be a "fishy" smell, which may be worse after sex. About half of women who have bacterial vaginosis do not notice any symptoms.

Herbal Suppositories

When you vagina is going through some changes , especially when BV is involved, it’s easy to feel embarrassed or concerned. With symptoms such as vaginal discharge, odor, or itching, it can be hard to know how to work with it and find the balance in your ecology or tissue states. There is an herbal option! Herbal Suppositories - Different varieties of herbal suppositories have been used for hundreds of years (Romm, 2010). 

Pessaries – as used to describe vaginal suppositories - are designed to deliver drugs through rectal and vaginal routes of administration. They evolved as a more convenient alternative form of drug delivery from liquid enema formulations. In fact, the term suppositorium comes from the Latin word supponere, meaning ‘substitute’ . Suppositories are a simple herbal preparation using oils, butters, powdered herbs, and/or essential oils in small molds that are inserted vaginally or rectally (Romm, 2010).

Suppositories are used modern day in both herbalism and modern western medicine, and have existed for hundreds of years, they have been referenced in the Hebrew Scriptures. Even vaginally applied pessaries are just as old with documentation reported in Egyptian papyruses. Hippocrates wrote of various acorn-based medicines delivered rectally and vaginally for local pharmacologic effects. 

Herbal suppositories can be a useful way to apply herbs internally for vaginal and anal complaints. So, why choose herbal suppositories over other herbal preparations? Mainly because suppositories are solid when inserted and then gradually dissolve—allowing the herbs and oils to stay in contact with the tissues for a longer period of time. This can increase effectiveness and absorption compared to other herbal preparations like simple infused oils. The important thing to note here is that suppositories dissolve fairly quickly and come out of your vagina, there are many women that use things like yoni pearls and keep herb in their vaginas for several days at a time, which ultimately can lead to infection.

Suppositories may feel a lil bit messy at first, however; they eventually melt and partially drip out—they are often the best preparations, or more agreeable, than some other practices. For instance, with vaginal imbalances where undesirable bacteria or yeast are present, herbal suppositories would be more indicated than douching, since you do not want to risk pushing the bacteria higher up with the force of water.

Remember to keep it simple, clean, and avoid any ingredients that you feel could potentially irritate the tissues further. You know your vagina’s ecology best! 

There are many suppositories on the market, one of the most popular is by Honey Pot. They are very easy and inexpensive to make. When you make them on your own, you know the source of your ingredients which is extremely important.

Note that before you start making herbal suppositories for a specific purpose, it is important to have your symptoms evaluated and diagnosed by a certified health professional. This is a crucial first step, especially if there are any concerning symptoms present such as abnormal discharge, pain, or bleeding.

Keep in mind herbal suppositories are designed to melt once inserted, so using softer oils and butters that melt easily when heated is preferred. Coconut oil, olive oil, and cocoa/cacao butter are some of the most commonly used oils and butters when making herbal suppositories since they are all food-grade and easily melt when warmed or solidify when chilled. Additionally, all of these oils and butters have tissue-soothing, moistening, and inflammatory-modulating qualities that can lend additional support depending on the issue at hand.

There are 2 main ways the herbs can be added to you suppositories, by either infusing the herbs and botanicals with the oils you’ll be using (which is what my recipe calls for) or adding powdered herbs and botanicals to the oil without infusion.

Bacterial Vaginosis Herbal Blend

Here are the herbs you will need for the BV infusion, and a here is a quick lesson on how to infuse your oils:

Bacterial Vaginosis Blend–  use in equal parts (e.g 1 pt can = 1 tsp)

Sustainably grown goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) root

Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) root

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) root (short-term use only)

 

Remember to keep it simple, clean, and avoid any ingredients that you feel could potentially irritate the tissues further. You know your vagina’s ecology best! 

 

Simple Herbal Suppository Recipe

From Aviva Romm’s Botanical Medicine For Women’s Health

Ingredients

¼ cup cocoa butter
¼ cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon infused BV oil
*2 tablespoons powdered dried herb(s) of your choice (can be a combination of different herbs or one singular herb; reference the section on “powdered herbs” above for guidance in selecting). You do not need to add the powdered herbs if you are using infused oil, but you can.

 

Directions

  • Combine the cocoa butter and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Melt over medium heat and stir to combine. Turn off the heat source.
  • Add the calendula-infused oil and powdered herb(s) of your choice to the saucepan while the cocoa butter and coconut oil are still melted. Stir well to combine.
  • Pour the suppository mixture into clean suppository molds. Refrigerate the suppositories until they are firm. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. If stored properly, suppositories will typically last at least several months. 
  • To use, insert suppositories vaginally or rectally as needed. Dosing guidelines will vary depending on the purpose of the suppositories. Note that since suppositories will melt once inserted, wearing some kind of protective pad or layer in the underwear is advised to protect your clothing. Suppositories are commonly applied before laying down to sleep since lying horizontally gives the suppositories more time to absorb without dripping out. 

Now that you know the basics of how to make your own herbal suppositories, you can start experimenting with different herbal combinations depending on your needs. 

 

With Grace & Gratitude,

Haleema

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Romm, A. (2010). Botanical medicine for women’s health. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Russo, E.  (2011). Taming THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x

Herbal Academy (2020). DIY Herbal Suppository

NCBI (2017) PMC6123880

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