How aware are you of what’s going on down there? Did you know that there’s a strong link between your vaginal health and fertility, yet it’s an area we might not think about first when it comes to supporting our fertility. There are billions of microbes living in the vagina, known as the vaginal microbiome, and it is important that these are in balance for good health, fertility and supporting a healthy pregnancy.
A vaginal conditional that seems to be crop up a lot in clinic with my female clients is Bacterial Vaginosis, also known as BV. BV is a condition caused by overgrowth of certain types of bacteria found in the vagina.
BV may be a common condition, but this does not mean we want to have an overgrowth of this bacteria in the vagina. This is particularly important for women trying to conceive, as BV bacteria is linked with a number of conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, where the bacteria can affect the uterus or the fallopian tubes, an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, an increase in miscarriage risk, and preterm birth, so not something we want to be carrying around in pregnancy either.
How do you know if you have BV?
Here are some of the symptoms associated with BV:
Grey or white vaginal discharge
A fishy odour, which can be worse after intercourse
Itching, pain or burning of the vagina
BV can also be associated with urinary tract infections, and it can occur with thrush, or be mistaken for thrush.
If there are no symptoms it’s all ok, right?
Well, no, a surprisingly large number of the women I see in my clinic have a high level of vaginal bacteria associated with BV, but absolutely no symptoms. And how do I know this? I recommend that every woman I see in my clinic undertakes a vaginal microbiome test. This is a really simple home test that assesses the vaginal microbiome for bacteria and yeasts, as well as the level of inflammation in the vagina, how acidic or alkaline the vagina is, and the amount of beneficial bacteria, particularly those that are associated with good fertility and higher pregnancy rates. And this does not just affect women, bacteria can be passed back and forth through sexual activity so ideally both partners should be checked out.
The good news is that whatever is picked up on a vaginal microbiome test can be supported using diet, lifestyle, and supplements. In some cases antibiotics may be necessary as well, but natural support plays a big part, and can have a very positive impact.
Having a healthy vaginal microbiome is essential whether you are going through fertility treatment or trying to conceive naturally, so start to become aware of vaginal discharge and whether you have any of the symptoms. But even if you don’t, and all seems fine, I would highly recommend getting tested to rule out that there is nothing there that could be affecting your fertility. Get in touch if you would like to find out more, or if you are interested in doing this test.
If you would like some help to prepare for fertility treatment, contact me to find out about my 12 week Boost Your Fertility programme. Book your free discovery call to find out how I can help you.
Disclaimer: Nutritional Therapy is not a replacement for medical advice, practitioners always refer any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional. The information provided here is general and is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any diseases or conditions.