What is BV?
Bv is a short form for bacterial vaginosis. Many women will contract bacterial vaginosis at one point in their life. Recognising the signs of bv or Thrush is essential because the methods of treatment will vary.
Difference between BV and Thrush
BV and Thrush will both present with similar symptoms. Both conditions are relatively harmless, but sufferers will experience varying levels of discomfort and unpleasantness. For both bv and Thrush, we observe an alteration of the pH in your vaginal flora. This will cause the vagina to emit different coloured discharge, discharge varying textures, unusual odours, and general physical discomfort in the affected area.
Several factors will alter the pH of your vagina: sexual intercourse, fluctuation in hormones before your period, vaginal washes (these kill good bacteria from your vaginal microbiome, avoid them!), and even genetics can make you a higher risk of easily altered pH levels.
Due to altered pH, harmful bacteria can overtake your vaginal flora. This will cause bv. Grey and white discharge are very common. This discharge will emit an intense fishy odour, especially after sexual intercourse.
Thrush is another term for a yeast infection. The Candida Albicans in your vagina is susceptible to overgrowing during times of high stress, during hormonal changes in your menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and elevated blood glucose levels.
Thrush occurs by an overload of yeast in the vagina, and bv develops from bacteria. They may present with similar symptoms, like itching, discharge, and discomfort, but they will require different treatment forms.
Does thrush smell?
It is not common for Thrush to present itself with any odours. Some women will smell a mid yeasty odour, but anything more substantial is not typical for Thrush.
Thrush is commonly identified by the discharge it produces. It is thick, white, and cottage cheese inconsistency. This type of discharge is a tell-tale sign of Thrush. There is also general discomfort in the vagina and local area, including minor swelling, itching, and irritation while urinating.
Can you have Thrush and BV at the same time?
Yes, unfortunately, it is possible to have both Thrush and bv at the same time. You will need to monitor your condition closely and inform your health care provider of all symptoms you experienced. This is the best way to ensure the correct treatments are administered.
Taking antibiotics to treat bv will not increase your risk of Thrush. You can safely use both antibiotic treatments and Thrush based treatments simultaneously.
How to prevent BV and Thrush
The best way to reduce your risk of altering the pH of your vagina is to avoid treatments that will wipe out your healthy bacteria. Avoid vaginal cleanses, vaginal douches, and vaginal deodorants. These products will only increase your chances of contracting bv or developing Thrush.
To reduce the risk of bv, ensure you practise excellent hygiene. Remove soiled and sweaty clothes immediately after your workout; this will reduce the risk of bacteria entering your vagina.
Excellent hygiene also includes refreshing your period products (such as pads and tampons) in a timely fashion. The longer you sit in a soiled product, the higher the risk of bv. When you are wiping yourself after using the toilet, ensure you wipe front to back. This will prevent any bacteria from your stool from accidentally enter your vagina and altering your pH.
Wear light clothing with excellent airflow to reduce the risk of Thrush. Pick cotton-based clothing and undergarments as much as possible to allow your female bits to breathe.
Incorporating probiotics into your current supplement routine may also prevent Thrush. Taking an oral tablet can provide your system with more healthy bacteria that will keep your levels of Candida in check. Thrush is much more challenging to manage because it is often directly affected by hormones. Keep an eye on your menstrual cycle and try to stay ahead of Thrush right before your period by following the outlined steps.
Practice safe sex to prevent bv and Thrush. A condom acts as a physical barrier that will prevent the exchange of any bacteria and other unwanted bodily fluids (which can transfer STIs). A female partner can transfer their yeast infection to male partners during sexual intercourse. If you have Thrush but still want to enjoy sex, make sure you inform your partner about your situation and use a condom.
For some women, Thrush can innocently come into their lives and then refuse to leave. If you have ever suffered from this, you know it can be a living nightmare. Women who experience surges in hormones are highly susceptible to recurring Thrush. This includes women who have been diagnosed with PCOS, thyroid-related problems, pregnant women, and women experiencing menopause.
In these instances, it is best to consult with a gynaecologist for the best courses of treatment. These specialists may be able to offer longer-lasting treatment plans that can help.
Your vagina is a very hormonally and bacterially active part of your body. It is perfectly normal for things to change and for smells and itchy sensations to occur.
Recognizing the difference between bv and Thrush is essential because it will dictate your treatment plan. Unfortunately, if you catch both simultaneously, your life will be uncomfortable, but only temporarily! Treat bv and Thrush to improve your quality of life. You can follow our recommendations to prevent future recurrences of these two conditions.
If you crave deeper insight and knowledge on the everyday happenings of the vagina, please visit our web page, ‘What’s wrong with my vagina’, for more detailed information. This article provides you with all the common vaginal symptoms women experience and what you can do to ensure your vagina stays healthy!