What is cytolytic vaginosis and what treatment can get rid of it?
Cytolytic vaginosis is the accumulation of certain bacteria in the female vagina. Although the presence of this bacteria is normal, having too much of it can cause unpleasant and sometimes painful symptoms.
Cytolytic vaginosis is a condition caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the vagina. Also called lactobacillus overgrowth syndrome or Doderlein cytolysis, it is thought to occur when too much of a certain type of bacteria grows in the vagina.
The presence of lactobacilli in the vagina is considered normal. It can help protect women from problems like thrush. But if there are too many of these bacteria, according to some doctors, you can develop cytolytic vaginosis, which leads to unpleasant and sometimes painful symptoms.
What causes cytolytic vaginosis?
Cytolytic vaginosis is a controversial diagnosis in the medical community. Many doctors find it difficult to believe that the diagnosis is valid, while others believe that the condition is related to a problem with the pH balance of the vagina.
Vaginal pH plays a significant role in vaginal health. It indicates the level of acid and can change according to age, diet, health and other factors. The pH scale is between 0 and 14. Anything less than 7 is considered acidic.
The general pH of the vagina can vary from 3.8 to 5. However, in the case of cytolytic vaginosis, the change in pH leads to a change in the natural bacterial balance of the vagina. The amount of lactobacilli is too much and the pH of the vagina becomes more acidic. In this state, the pH value can be between 3.5 and 4.5.
Doctors often indicate that when a woman has chronic discharge, the condition is treated with a variety of antifungals or antibiotics. However, these treatments can lead to changes in vaginal pH and bacterial overgrowth.
Besides treatments, other things can also cause cytolytic vaginosis. The body may be sensitive to certain products. For example, for soap, menstrual pads, wipes, lubricants.
Symptoms of cytolytic vaginosis
The symptoms of the condition are similar to those of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. In the case of cytolytic vaginosis, however, they are generally worse in the week before menstruation. This is because the level of lactobacilli in the body is higher at this stage of the menstrual cycle.
Likewise, the side effects of the condition worsen most during menstruation. This is explained by the fact that menstrual blood is less acidic on the pH scale. Therefore, during bleeding, the acid level is equalized.
However, what are the symptoms of cytolytic vaginosis?
- Itching in the vagina or vulva.
- A burning sensation in the vulva, which may worsen when passing urine. Sometimes the sensation is similar to a urinary tract infection.
- Pain or a burning sensation during sex, or a burning sensation after sex.
- More yellowish or white discharge from the vagina, the consistency of which may vary.
Diagnosis of cytolytic vaginosis
If the doctor wants to determine if cytolytic vaginosis is present, he will first perform a pelvic examination. A sample of vaginal discharge is taken to be examined under a microscope. In this case, specialists look for cell changes, high numbers of lactobacilli and low levels of white blood cells. If these are indeed found, the patient suffers from cytolytic vaginosis.
Vaginal pH is also tested to see if it is in the typical range for cytolytic vaginosis. Our doctor may take a Pap smear to diagnose the condition.
To confirm that the symptoms are really caused by cytolytic vaginosis, there must be no simultaneous presence of fungus, bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis – the latter is caused by a parasite, a common infection that is transmitted sexually.
What is the treatment for cytolytic vaginosis?
In order to get rid of cytolytic vaginosis, it is necessary to raise the pH value of the vagina and restore the amount of lactobacilli to the normal level. For this purpose, the doctor can recommend a baking soda treatment. It is also important to avoid products that cause the condition.
A baking soda treatment may include:
- Vaginal cone: we can make a suppository ourselves with baking soda. Fill an empty gelatin capsule – which you can get in health stores – with baking soda. Place one capsule in the vagina twice a week for two weeks.
- A shower: dissolve 1 heaped teaspoon of baking soda in 6 deciliters of hot water. Use the mixture as a vaginal douche for 7-14 days. You can also get a shower bag at a pharmacy. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can also buy baking soda shower gel without a prescription in stores.
- Paste: if the skin outside the vagina itches or has a burning sensation, the paste can help. Prepare the aqueous mixture using water and baking soda and apply it on the skin daily.
- Sitting bath: mix 2-4 tablespoons of baking soda in 5 centimeters of warm bath water. Soak yourself for 15-20 minutes twice a day or a few times a week. In order to avoid a recurrence of cytolytic vaginosis, take a site bath like this once or twice a week after this.
If symptoms do not go away within two weeks after treatment, go back to your doctor.
How to prevent cytolytic vaginosis?
In order to avoid the condition, it is worth making some changes in the lifestyle.
- Do not use soap in or around the vagina. Wash the area with water or use a pH-balanced, fragrance-free soap.
- Use pads instead of tampons during menstruation, because menstrual blood raises the pH value of the vagina.
- Do not use scented vaginal hygiene products such as vaginal powder, sprays, toilet paper, pads and other things.
- We always change our wet clothes as soon as possible. So swimwear, gym clothes and other wet things.
- Wear tight clothes.
- Use cotton underwear.
- Sleep without underwear if possible.
- If you have cytolytic vaginosis, you should avoid sex until the symptoms go away.
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