If you are stressed or anxious, your high cortisol levels are actually increasingly blocking your vagina from producing glycogen. This means your good bacteria have nothing to eat, should they survive. This is a problem when you are trying to resolve BV.
Finding ways to calm your system down (read: to reduce cortisol levels, to increase glycogen production in the vagina to feed your lactobacilli) is a really personal thing, but it often needs to be addressed when dealing with BV. It isn’t necessarily going to make or break your BV (if the biofilm is gone, your lactobacilli aren’t just going to lie down and die for no reason), but it needs to be taken into account when you think about how you are going to support your good bacteria and the recolonisation procedure.
Do not underestimate the impact your stress and anxiety are having on your ability to beat BV.
Most of us don’t even understand our own stress response. All we know is that we are freaking out, can’t sleep properly, suffer small (or large) bouts of panic, and worry a lot. It all feels so important, perspective is lost, and we lose our minds temporarily. This, my friends, is a physical response that affects our brain and body – your body is producing a hormone that is making you feel like that. If you can learn how to control this, you can keep cortisol levels in your body down more of the time. This is why meditating, yoga and laughing come so highly recommended – they, like a drug, lower your cortisol levels (proved by science multiple times over). It’s not complicated in theory, but it can be really hard to figure out how to do when you feel really bad. Anxiety makes you feel tense, and so trying to un-tense can feel like trying to swim through syrup.
Figuring out your stress response usually gets easier as you get older because you learn to avoid the stressors – including people you don’t like, jobs you hate, lovers who cause you never-ending drama. These are largely within your control, so when it comes to figuring out how to manage stress and anxiety, start in your own back yard. Identify, then eliminate or manage.
There are also a lot of really awesome therapies that don’t include sitting around talking about your feelings. Go get a massage, foot rub, head massage, get a physical therapy to help solve some physical tension (osteopaths are fantastic, shiatsu, acupuncture, reflexology). Go to an herbalist and say, I’m stressed! Help! and they will make you a wild concoction of herbal Xanax – herbs, in therapeutic doses, can work true non-pharmaceutical magic on the nervous system, without the hangover.
And, you can do the most amount at home by yourself for free. Take your laptop into the bath with a glass of wine and watch movies, spend time with people you like who make you laugh, look up funny cat videos on the internet, give yourself a reflexology session (you’d be amazed how tight your feet get), cook nice food, clean your house, whatever floats your boat and helps you get back to equilibrium.
Sleep lots more than you do. Just make time for it. We don’t sleep enough. It’s ok to sleep, it’s ok to relax, it’s ok to do nothing and it’s ok to say no. Life is not race and it’s not a competition – don’t forget… we all end up dead at the finish line.