Hydrogen peroxide douches and BV

Douching with hydrogen peroxide can get rid of bacterial vaginosis in some cases, but in chronic BV, aerobic vaginitis and other dysbiotic conditions, more ingredients help. See Killing BV.

As many of you may already know, hydrogen peroxide doesn’t get rid of BV, but can alleviate symptoms for a while.

Hydrogen peroxide is used as a disinfectant, so its use in BV is limited to this function – it kills planktonic (free-floating) bacteria in your vaginal canal, which in the short-term removes odour and discharge, but it does not break down the bacterial biofilm left by pathogens.

The bacterial biofilm in BV

The bacterial biofilm is a sticky, thick, impenetrable coating on the cells of your vagina that act as a barrier to any attempts of beneficial bacteria to colonise.

It makes your vagina uninhabitable for friendly lactobacilli, and the biofilm is immune to antibiotics. This is why BV ‘keeps coming back’ – it actually just never goes away.

Alleviating odour and discharge

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove odours and is so effective, you could even have a sexy date if you are thorough and use a strong enough dose. Hydrogen peroxide at a six per cent dilution may remove odour for at least 24 hours, depending on your body and condition.

The resolution of odour can last for weeks or until something else disrupts your vagina, like menstrual blood or semen (these both change the pH and allow the bacteria that cause the smell to proliferate). You can also become reinfected with pathogenic bacteria from a sexual partner.

How to use hydrogen peroxide

  • Use a liberal amount per douche – 100 – 200ml
  • Aim for 6 per cent strength (3 per cent is not strong enough and 9 per cent is too strong)
  • Some fizzing and stinging is normal and is the hydrogen peroxide coming into contact with raw proteins (not killing germs!)
  • If you have a bad reaction, stop using hydrogen peroxide

References



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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)
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