Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection. It happens due to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in a woman’s vagina .
Bacterial vaginosis causes a fishy odor and excessive discharge in the vagina.
Fortunately, you may get rid of bacterial vaginosis with the help of some home remedies.
Medical research support the efficacy and safety of these natural herbs and supplements to get rid of bacterial vaginosis and its symptoms.
This article reviews some of the most effective home remedies for bacterial vaginosis, plus causes and symptoms of recurrent vaginal infection.
15 Home Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis
Yogurt is more than just a healthy probiotic. It’s also an efficient way to restore the balance of bacteria in the vagina .
120 patient consumed a capsule containing 8 billion units of Lactobacillus acidophilus. The other group took probiotics for 14 days .
The patients did not experience any side effects during the treatment period .
Researchers conclude that probiotics can reduce bacterial vaginosis safely and effectively .
How to use yogurt for bacterial vaginosis:
- Spread a tablespoon of yogurt on a cotton pad.
- Apply on the vagina.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing with water.
- Repeat three times a day until symptoms disappear.
- Eat one cup of yogurt a day to speed up treatment.
2. Tea Tree Oil
A woman suffering from symptoms of bacterial vaginosis used tea tree oil to treat herself .
The self-treatment was successful. The woman was free of symptoms after the treatment .
Later on Australian researchers made a scientific investigation of tea tree oil. They investigated the effects of tea tree oil on vaginal infection .
The researchers collected three isolates of the bacterium Gardnerella vaginalis. They exposed these to the minimum concentration of tea tree oil .
The tests were carried out using agar and broth dilution methods .
Findings reveal that tea tree oil can inhibit the activities of Gardnerella vaginalis. In the process it doesn’t affect the good bacteria .
How you may use tea tree oil for bacterial vaginosis:
- Mix 5 drops of tea tree oil with a bowl of warm water.
- Rinse the vagina with the solution.
- Repeat once a day for up to four weeks.
Many people know about garlic’s strength as an antibacterial agent.
People have been using garlic for decades to combat various types of infections.
It works even for bacterial strains that have grown resistant to antibiotic medications .
It chemically reacts with the thiol groups of different enzymes. These enzymes affect the metabolism of the microbes .
However, we need further studies to establish the safety of this herbal remedy for vaginal infections.
Garlic home remedy for bacterial vaginosis:
- Rub crushed garlic cloves gently on the vagina.
- Wait for 20 minutes before washing off with warm water.
- Do this remedy once a day for up to one month.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a popular natural ingredient for skin and hair care.
According to numerous research the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil has bactericidal effects. These therapeutic qualities in the oil are effective in inhibiting inflammation, glycemia, and urogenital bacteria.  So, coconut oil may cure BV naturally in humans.
How to use coconut oil for BV:
- Soak a tampon in coconut oil.
- Insert it into your vagina for two-three hours.
- Repeat the treatment daily until the BV subsides.
- Additionally, use coconut oil as cooking oil to boost immunity against the bacteria.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
It doesn’t sound like a good idea to wash your vagina with vinegar.
However it works well in combating vaginal infection caused by pathogenic bacteria.
It works by preventing microbes from adhering to the vaginal area and causing harm .
Moreover, it also helps restore the acidity of the area to maintain proper vaginal flora.
How to drink ACV to relieve bacterial vaginosis:
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
- Mix well.
- Drink this concoction once a day or every other day for one to two weeks.
Goldenseal can be an effective herbal remedy for bacterial vaginosis.
The dried goldenseal herb is used for various medicines. 
Goldenseal contains a potent natural compound called berberine. Many research evidence confirm of its antimicrobial and antifungal effects.
Goldenseal is good for several skin disorders and symptoms such as itching, herpes blisters, eczema, irritations, swelling, wounds,acne, ringworm, and rashes.
Experts also claim that goldenseal is good for women suffering from vaginal swelling, pain, and period cramps.
A 2016 study reviewed the efficacy of alternative treatments for recurrent bacterial vaginosis.
Evidence suggests that goldenseal herbal supplement in capsule form taken for a period of one month can significantly cure bacterial vaginosis. 
How to use goldenseal for bacterial vaginosis:
- Consume one goldenseal capsule every night before bed for a month.
- Alternatively you may use goldenseal tea as vaginal wash to treat bacterial vaginosis.
7. Boric Acid
There has been no research or clinical trial for investigate the efficacy of boric acid in treating bacterial vaginosis. However, women have been using boric acid as an inexpensive and effective home remedy for vagina infections such as bacterial vaginosis for over a hundred years. 
Besides the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim boric acid to be an effective remedy for recurrent and persistent bacterial vaginosis.
However, the experts are not sure of the safety of intravaginal boric acid treatment for vaginal infections.
Though many patients claim that boric acid suppositories successfully put an end to their bacterial vaginosis, we need clinical trial to confirm it’s efficacy.
Neem is a popular remedy in Ayurveda and Homeopathic medicine.
It has generated interest worldwide with its broad range of therapeutic benefits .
It has over 140 active compounds.
Most of its parts—leaves, seeds, flowers, fruits, bark, and root—have medicinal value .
It’s no surprise that you can also use it as a remedy for vaginal infections.
Clinical trials show that it’s highly effective in resolving abnormal vaginal discharge. 
It was one of the key ingredients in a polyherbal cream. The cream is highly active against bacteria that are commonly known to infect the vagina .
Here’s how you may use neem oil for bacterial vaginosis:
- Combine 5 drops of neem oil with 1 tablespoon of almond oil.
- Apply the oil mixture on the vagina.
- Follow this remedy once a day for up to three weeks.
9. Japanese Mugwort
Japanese mugwort may not be as popular as garlic or tea tree oil in fighting infection. But it also works effectively.
Japanese mugwort has antibacterial activities against Gardnerella vaginalis. 
Its active compounds alpha-terpineol and eucalyptol may inhibit the bacteria .
Alpha-terpineol can wipe out most of the bacterial strains. .
Its effects were similar to that of clotrimazole.
Clotrimazole is an antibacterial drug prescribed for this condition .
These compounds may also alleviate the activities of pro-inflammatory cytokines and NF-KB .
Researchers conclude that Japanese mugwort can reduce the bacteria in the vaginal cavity and tissues .
How to use Japanese mugwort for bacterial vaginosis:
- Boil a pot of water.
- Add a handful of Japanese mugwort leaves.
- Use this solution to rinse the vagina.
- Repeat once a day for three weeks.
10. Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass oil comes from a tropical perennial plant. It grows in sunny and humid environments .
The long list of its uses for the health will astound you.
Traditional healers use lemongrass to treat fever, pain and infectious diseases .
Lemongrass is also beneficial for those suffering from bacterial vaginosis .
In fact, lemongrass is one of the “most potent essential oils” to inhibit vaginal infections .
It needs the lowest inhibitory concentration to kill the bacteria.
How to use lemongrass oil for bacterial vaginosis:
- Add 5 drops of lemongrass oil to 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil.
- Mix well.
- Apply oil mixture on the vagina.
- Leave it on for one hour before rinsing with warm water.
- Use this remedy daily for three weeks.
11. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil also has strong inhibitory effects against bacterial strains .
Like most of the essential oils listed here, it’s important to dilute lavender first before using.
This is to ensure that your skin does not get irritated.
- Mix 5 drops of lavender and 2 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Wash vagina with oil mixture.
- Repeat once a day until symptoms are gone.
12. Clove Oil
Clove oil is a potent antibacterial agent. People have been using it has long time to treat all sorts of bacterial infection is clove oil.
In one study, women with bacterial vaginosis used clove oil once a day for a week .
Results show that it worked just as well as thyme in reducing unpleasant symptoms .
Its effects were comparable to those of vaginal metronidazole .
Apart from this, this oil also helps resolve the issue of bacterial imbalance in the vagina .
It’s no surprise that it’s one of the most widely used natural remedies for bacterial vaginosis.
How to use clove oil for bacterial vaginosis natural treatment:
- Dilute 6 drops of clove oil in a cup of warm water.
- Use the solution to rinse the vagina after bathing.
- Repeat until symptoms disappear.
13. Thyme Oil
Suffering from annoying vaginal infection?
Thyme oil can come to your rescue.
Researchers claim that thyme oil is an effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis .
Thymol’s antibacterial properties work by preventing the adhesion of bacterial strains .
Even at minimum concentration, it can prevent the infection.
- Combine 6 drops of thyme oil in a cup of jojoba oil.
- Apply the solution on the vagina.
- Follow this remedy once a day for three weeks.
14. Baking Soda
Baking soda is not just an all-around household cleaner. It’s also an efficient way to maintain vaginal hygiene.
So here’s how it works:
Baking soda is a natural alkaline that helps neutralize the pH level in the vaginal area.
When there’s a proper balance of pH in the vagina, the odor and infection will eventually go away.
Plus, baking soda is also a natural deodorizer that can freshen up the smell down there.
Indian researchers recommend baking soda as an alternative treatment for this problem .
How you may have a baking soda bath to reduce bacterial vaginosis :
- Add 1 cup of baking soda to your bath water.
- Soak in the bathtub for 20 minutes.
- Dry your body thoroughly with a clean, soft towel before putting on your clothes.
- Do this every day until the infection is cleared.
15. Hydrogen Peroxide
According to research, hydrogen peroxide is an exceptional home remedy for bacterial vaginosis.
Hydrogen peroxide is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen component of the chemical hydrates your vagina. The harmful microbes cannot stand the oxygen components. 
The chemical can fight off the bad microbes responsible for vaginal odor, discharge, and infections.
Hydrogen peroxide is more affordable than other medications for relieving bacterial vaginosis.
How to use hydrogen peroxide douche for bacterial vaginosis:
- Dilute 1 ounce or 6 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with 100 ml. distilled water.
- Now irrigate your vagina with the solution.
- Repeat the process twice or thrice daily for 3-4 days.
- Additionally, drink apple cider vinegar solution (mixing one tablespoon of ACV with 500 ml. water) thrice daily to restore good vaginal flora.
Fenugreek has immense therapeutic values.
It’s widely known to boost the immune system. It may maintain a healthy heart, treat constipation, diabetes, and lower cholesterol.
Fenugreek contains tannins, carbohydrate, phenols, flavonoids, alkaloid, and terpenes.
These components provide numerous health benefits.
Fenugreek helps to create a balance in the pH of the vagina. Thus you can use it as a natural home remedy to treat bacterial vaginosis. 
- Soak a teaspoon of fenugreek in a cup of water overnight. Or you could add a teaspoon of fenugreek seed and simmer in a cup of boiling water for five minutes
- Drink this fenugreek water every day in the morning before having your breakfast
- You should continue drinking this water every day for best results
17. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is another common home remedies that cures many health problems.
Anthraquinones in aloe vera has antibacterial properties.
How to use aloe vera gel to treat bacterial vaginosis:
- Wash 2-3 leaves of Aloe Vera and cut them along the length to obtain the gel
- Apply the gel on the affected area at any time of the day or night
- Repeat the process for about one to two weeks for best results
18. Practice Hygiene
You should bring certain lifestyle changes to get rid of bacterial vaginosis fast.
- Practice good hygiene of your private parts on a daily basis. Your rectum and vagina are situated relatively close to each other. There’s a high chance of bacterial contamination from the stool. It is advisable that you wipe and clean the area from front to back. That means from the vagina towards the anal region every time you pass a stool.
- During menstruation, try to change the pads and tampons at regular intervals. Make sure to wash clean your sex toys with hot water and soap.
- Using condoms during sex is another important preventive step for bacterial vaginosis.
- Last, of all replace all your synthetic underwear with cotton ones. Tight pants and linen underwear makes the vagina a breeding place for bacteria. Allow the vagina to get some air and breathe.
Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria that prevent the growth of bad bacteria. It creates a slightly acidic environment in your vagina .
When the number of lactobacillus level drops, it causes the growth of bad bacterial. The situation may lead to Bacterial vaginosis(BV).
Moreover, BV may happen because of bacterial strains such as Gardnerella vaginalis.
Any woman can get BV, but certain things increase the chances of BV such as:
- Scented soaps
- Vaginal deodorants
- Multiple sex partners
- Oral and anal sex
All these factors may increase the chances of upsetting the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina.
When to See a Doctor
You may not always detect signs of bacterial vaginosis. However the bacterial condition may cause the following: 
- A fishy odor in the vagina that gets stronger after sex.
- Burning sensation while peeing.
- Stomach cramps or pain.
- Thin white, gray, or even sometimes green discharge.
Itching rarely occurs in bacterial vaginosis. But you should not confuse BV for yeast infection.
You should consult a doctor to diagnose the condition properly.
Causes of Recurring Bacterial Vaginosis:
Recurring bacterial vaginosis also needs medical attention. The rates of BV recurrence is very high. It happens when the initial therapies or treatments fail to build a natural balance of the ecosystem of the vagina. Moreover unhealthy lifestyle, some underlying cause, and an ineffective treatment may also lead to recurrence of bacterial vaginosis.
There are the diseases and conditions that are associated with bacterial vaginosis.
- Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and other STDs from a person who is infected with them.
- Post-surgical infection
- A pelvic inflammatory disease
A doctor may prescribe antibiotic cream or gel to inhibit the bacteria. Some of the traditional medications for BV include Metronidazole, Clindamycin, Secnidazole, etc.
Some Q&A About Bacterial Vaginosis
Are there other types of vaginal odor apart from this fishy smell?
Yes. There is. The other type of “smells” can be:
- Metallic smell
- Musky smell
- Yeasty or Bread smell
- Rotten smell
What do I do if I have these other types of smell?
If you have these other types of smell, then you can try using the home remedies for vaginal odor above. Or the other best thing will be to go to your doctor.
Do certain types of food contribute to vaginal odor?
Yes. They do. Strong, heavily spiced and scented food can affect your vaginal odor.
Foods such as coffee, onions, garlic and strong spices can change your vaginal odor.
What you should do is to try removing strong smelling foods from your diet. For example, removing meat and dairy and slowly adding them back to your diet. This way you can see which food is contributing to the odor. If the problem persists, then you should consult your doctor immediately.
What is the difference between bacterial vaginosis and vaginal thrush?
The difference is quite simple. Vaginal thrush is a yeast infection while bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection.
Is bacterial vaginosis a worry for pregnant women?
Yes. It is. It may increase the chances of abortion a lot. If you are a pregnant woman with bacterial vaginosis, get treatment immediately.
Can bacterial vaginosis occur in men?
No, men with a penis don’t get bacterial vaginosis.
What are some of the antibiotics I can use to get rid of bacterial vaginosis?
Some of the medicines prescribed by doctors include Metronidazole, Clindamycin, and Tinidazole. However, you must consult a doctor before taking these antibiotics.
Is bacterial vaginosis contagious?
No, it is not a sexually transmitted infection. But it can develop if you have had sex or having sex with multiple partners.
What is the normal pH of the vagina before a woman develops bacterial vaginosis?
Lactobacillus controls the bacterial growth and maintains a slightly acidic with a pH of 3.8–4.2.
What is the difference between yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis?
A vaginal yeast infection is mainly caused by a fungus called candida. It causes discharge that is thick and white, with a cottage-cheese type appearance. The condition comes along with itching.
Bacterial vaginosis may not be life-threatening. Still it can impact your life negatively. BV can hamper your sexual life and intimate relationships.
The vaginal infection increases the risk of other bacterial and inflammatory diseases as well.
The home remedies for bacterial vaginosis discussed here are not alternative to medical treatment.
In case these don’t reduce the symptoms, consult a doctor fast.
READ MORE: 18 Ways to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor Naturally