Am I allergic to milk kefir?

I started drinking kefir milk about 2-3 weeks ago to try to treat my bacterial vaginosis, but I’m either allergic to it or experiencing bacteria die-off cos my skin/scalp’s super itchy and I get hives and welts on my skin. My face is red and blotchy. So is it still safe for me to insert kefir into my vagina for BV? Or should I find out if I am allergic to kefir/lactose first from a doctor?

Hives and welts indicates an allergic reaction, and if you suspect the kefir, stop using it. It can be hard to tell, but you know your own body. There are other options when treating BV.

You can use probiotic capsules vaginally and orally instead.

Alternatives to dairy kefir ferments

You can ferment milk kefir grains in other non-dairy milks (coconut, soy), but you need to re-ferment them every week or so (or switch the grains around) so they benefit from the cow’s milk. Read about non-dairy ferments here. One woman used her sister’s breast milk – a viable fermentable alternative, should you have access (and the will!).

We haven’t tried putting non-dairy ferments into vaginas, so you’ll need to do your own experiments here. Soy may be a good option, since it contains phyto-oestrogens, particularly post menopause. Avoid sugary milks (coconut is very sweet) or water them down.  

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)