Can introducing foreign lactobacilli strains to the vagina cause BV to get worse? I tried Multi-Gyn Actigel and a FemDophilus capsule on my vulva and it made the fishy smell worse and increased my discharge. 

It is unlikely that adding extra strains makes BV worse, but adding in things that contain sugars could possibly. Basically the mess is just there all the time, and feeding planktonic bacteria can make the smell and discharge worse, but it’s not really ‘making your BV worse’, it’s just exacerbating, temporarily, what’s already there. Anything that makes your symptoms worse, however, you should avoid, since whatever your mixture of bacteria, is not responding well to.

It’s impossible to know what we have growing in our vaginas, since the only bacteria that we can test for using cultures are culturable bacteria – there are many bacteria that don’t survive being cultured at all, and they can’t be tested for using usual methods. This means we could have all manner of heebie jeebies up there, and not know. Recurrent, unidentifiable infections ring any bells? (We’re working on it!)

The lactobacilli are required since they fight – by nature – the bad bacteria. They both like different environments, with lactobacilli enjoying an acidic environment, but other bacteria enjoying an alkaline environment. Some of the lactobacilli in the ferments don’t like the vagina really at all, but they will simply die off, leaving the other lactobacilli to fight another day.

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