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Cytolytic Vaginosis: What Every Woman Should Know About it

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

What is cytolytic vaginosis? I had never heard of it before either. After 4 years of vaginal issues and numerous test and doctors I was diagnosed with cytolytic vaginosis. I found that my symptoms continued to worsen and despite various treatments I wasn’t getting relief until I sought help from a functional doctor. Little did I know my condition wasn’t an infection or disease but simply an imbalance. What kind of problems does it cause and why does every woman need to know about it?

Cytolytic vaginosis has very similar symptoms to a yeast infection which is why it is often misdiagnosed. You will experience burning, itching, swelling, frequency of urination, painful sexual intercourse and white or yellow discharge. So what is the difference?

Cytolytic vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of lactobacillus which is actually healthy bacteria that fights off yeast and bad bacteria to keep things balanced. When you have an imbalance of lactobacillus you experience discomfort because this bacteria releases lactic acid. Generally this acid would kill unwanted visitors but because you have an overgrowth it causes burning and swelling. This over production of lactic acid also kills cells leading to dead cells that are sloughed off causing discharge. I had no idea I had too much healthy bacteria and I was unknowingly making it worse by doing vaginal probiotics that’s included the strain that I had an overgrowth. Many women jump to doing probiotics because they assume that they have too much bad bacteria such as in the cause of bacterial vaginosis. So what do you do about it?

I found from experience that results from treatment are individual. Since the problem is that your PH is too acidic you need to increase the PH. The best way to do that is baking soda. You can do this a few different ways. You can take baking soda baths, douche with baking soda or you can put baking soda in a capsule and insert it. My tissue was too sensitive to do the capsules or douche so I had to take baking soda baths.

  • Douche with 1 - 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 4 cups of water.

  • Dissolve 2 - 4 tablespoons in 2 inches of water and soak 15 - 20 mins 1 - 2x a day for 2 weeks

  • Use a sitz bath on the stool with 2 - 4 TB baking soda

  • Fill a gelatin capsule with baking soda and insert 2x a week for 2 weeks

I personally chose to soak in a regular bath so I use 1/2 a small box of baking soda which I have auto shipped once a month.

Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

I also occasionally use a sitz bath on the toilet because it allows me to have a higher concentration of baking soda. This one is easy and comfortable.

Soothic Sitz Bath

There is one treatment out there but it depends on the person if it is successful. I am actually sensitive to coconut oil so this suppository wasn’t a good option for me.

New Eve CV Ease Suppositories

Also consider using toilet paper that is not bleached by chlorine which can irritate skin.

Seventh Generation 48 Roll Count 100% recycled and whitened without bleach

If you don’t find relief make sure to consult your doctor.

You will find that tampons are uncomfortable and it is recommended that you wear pads for at least 6 months after relief of symptoms. One advantage to your cycle is that the PH of your blood will increase your PH vaginally so you may experience some temporary relief. What else can help?

I also could tell a big difference with my diet.

What does diet have to do with it? Well, your lactobacillus feeds on glycogen, stored glucose, which is replenished by the carbohydrates in your diet. It can be a little bit of trial and error but I found that I reacted to alcohol, bananas, maple syrup and sometimes sweet potatoes. You can start with eliminating sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soda pop, alcohol and fruit juice. The trigger can vary for you but a lower carbohydrate diet can be beneficial in managing symptoms. Drinking plenty of water can also help flush things out as well. Is this condition curable?

Well, everyone is different. I still continue to do baking soda baths when I have symptoms. I also find that using a syringe with baking soda can relieve irritation on the inside and the outside. Some women notice a difference after 2 weeks while others continue to manage symptoms. I hope to have complete relief from this condition but after months of discomfort I was relieved that I could manage it. You can to!

By Shirey Horner

Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner

ACSM Exercise Physiologist

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