Most people have heard of Thrush, but very few are aware of a condition called Bacterial Vaginosis, despite it being twice as common. It’s implicated in pre-term delivery, and 2nd trimester miscarriage, so this is a serious issue.
Officially BV is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina and is characterised by a greyish discharge with a mild ‘fishy’ odour (caused by sulfur), and it can occur with or without pain. It affects 1 in every 3 adult women – that’s a lot!
Although it is not specifically proven to cause infertility, according to this paper BV exists in up to 45% of women struggling to conceive – that’s also a lot! Treating vaginosis with antibiotics does improve pregnancy rates – but not by much.
I see it simply as ‘just another burden’ on the body of a woman struggling to conceive, and so treating it frees them up at least to some degree, and this – for some women – is enough to allow their body to get back on top and re-establish fertility.
Now if you think like I do you will recognise the contradiction in medicine whereby even though doctors know that everything in the body is connected, the dominating mindset is one that regards everything in the body as separate, so it’s no wonder that once a woman is diagnosed with BV the obvious response is to treat them with antibiotics. It’s the Doctrine of Specific Etiology at work here!
That’s what they did in the above study, and in my opinion that’s why they only saw a small improvement in pregnancy rates.
What is not considered here is how gut bacteria balance determines vaginal bacteria balance, nor how antibiotics mess up gut bacteria balance – thus the very solution used to treat BV is implicated in causing it! This is not an argument against using antibiotics to treat BV, it’s an argument to consider the longer-term effects of living with imbalanced gut bacteria, especially if you are having trouble conceiving.
Sometimes ‘nuking’ the bacteria that cause BV solves the issue and allows the body to get back on top, but if nothing more is done to help establish a good balance of bacteria systemically then the relief is usually temporary, and the can is just kicked down the road.
The imbalance of bacteria in our gut is caused by the way we live and what we eat – but also crucially by what we don’t eat, so if all we do is nuke infections with antibiotics without fixing the deeper problem – sooner or later the fallout is going to get us. To complicate matters – antibiotic resistant bacteria will survive the nuking – and take over the empty space making it even harder to restore balance next time.
The key to healing is not sudden shock therapy to correct the course we are on, it’s the willingness to change the little things we do daily which gradually contribute to our long-term problems. This requires doing something most of us resist – changing our mindset and with it our habits!
In my early days I accepted any client who needed help, but many times I ended up engaged in a sort of arm-twisting game trying to encourage change. As I matured, I came to realise this is approach was only a pathway to perdition for both of us – so I changed my mind.
Helping clients make the necessary adjustments is great – once they commit to the process, but I had to make a choice to only work with people who volunteer their arm for a gentle twisting first. Since doing this everything has gotten better, including the results!
Bacterial vaginosis is not the problem – it’s the signpost pointing to the solution!