Vaginal PH is prone to be imbalanced periodically, often reoccurring over many years with different symptoms, but truly becomes a nuisance post menopause. It is really offensive, smelly and unpleasant. There is a rule of thumb that says, “People smell us before we smell ourselves.” If this is true one is inclined to run far and fast upon getting a whiff of this fishy smelling discharge. It has been suggested that there is a time, post menopause, when the brain signals period, but gently oozes the grey discharge. “Old woman smell,” is a figure of speech used in some cultures, but has less to do with age than bacterial vaginosis which occurs more frequently at that time.
Bacterial Vaginosis can occur as early as during teenage years. Studies have shown that it happens more frequently in teenagers or women who have or have had more than one sex partner, but it is not unusual to happen in women who are not sexually active.
Bacterial vaginosis or BV as it is known is the most common vaginal infection found in women. It is caused by an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria (meaning: it doesn’t need oxygen to grow), and an organism called gardnerella vaginalis. Small amounts of these anaerobic bacteria and gardnerella can normally be found in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the balance of organisms in the vagina is upset and this allows anaerobic bacteria to overgrow. The good, protective bacteria, lactobacilli are then outnumbered and not able to do their normal job of being a natural disinfectant that helps keep organisms at the normal, healthy balance in the vagina. With recurring problems, doctors tend to prescribe oral medications such as metronidazole, also known as Flagyl, or clindamycin, which is said to be so potent an antibiotic, that it is feared it may affect the liver and vaginal ecology.
Homeopathic remedies are fast becoming the preferred alternative for some of these ailments though they are not meant to replace the initial thorough examination and treatment course of traditional medicine. However, the use of Vitamin C intravaginally was investigated by Peterson & Magnani in 2004. The results of the study showed a statistically significant decrease in vaginitis in the Vitamin C group as compared to the placebo at one week. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study which was done using 100 female patients. The alternative treatment could potentially decrease the use of antibiotic and reduce recurrence of BV while providing women and their health care providers another option for treatment. More women are moving away from traditional prescriptions for BV and going the route of inserting the alternative natural chewable Vitamin C (with the least amount of sugar) for prevention or recurrence of BV. Though Vitamin C is not a “cure” for all, most women have expressed satisfaction on the result of its use, some expressing that it takes effect almost immediately by getting rid of the smell and itching.