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Cytolytic Vaginosis CV & how to treat this condition

Updated: Apr 21

Cytolytic Vaginosis (CV) is a very painful vaginal condition that presents as thrush but isn’t !!! It involves an overgrowth of Lactobacilli Bacteria.

Lactobacilli in the correct amounts are seen as a measure of vaginal health because they protect against microorganisms such as yeast, however, too many lactobacilli are anything but healthy.

CV can be tricky to diagnose because awareness of this disorder isn't very widespread plus the symptoms seem to mirror ordinary thrush symptoms. Women with CV typically experience vaginal burning, inflammation and white and watery or white clumpy discharge. Thrush treatments do not help because this condition is not thrush. It will not respond to using a boric acid suppository although it won't make it worse as boric acid has a pH of 5.

Because CV involves vaginal pH that is too low we often see a white clumpy discharge. This is actually the vaginal skin sloughing off due to the acidic environment. And yes this is as painful as it sounds. This process is known as Iysis which means the breaking down of the epithelial cells which line the vaginal walls. These cells can be seen in a wet mount and help to diagnose CV.

Anything that increases the pH will help improve CV symptoms and offer relief eg having our period or unprotected sex usually helps to improve the symptoms of CV.

Our Baking Soda Dissolvables work beautifully to help resolve this condition because baking soda has a pH of about 9. A healthy vaginal pH is between 3.8 to 4.5. When used in the correct amount baking soda is very effective in elevating the pH.

Why do some women develop CV?

This is a question that we here at Serenity pH are trying to answer. We are dealing with CV sufferers from all over the world both here in our business and on Reddit and we have detected some patterns. However, we are just speculating as there isn't much research. CV was only discovered recently in 1991 so it's a relatively new disorder to medical science.

We believe that the recent use of long-term antibiotics or thrush treatments, plus the consumption of probiotics may be the cause of or be contributing to CV development. Most of the women in our informal study were on long courses of antibiotics and probiotics before developing CV (eg for Ureaplasma). The next biggest group were women who were on long courses of oral thrush treatments eg fluconazole and probiotics. However, a tiny handful of women had done none of the above. These women seemed to have developed CV from diet alone since they admitted to consuming lots of fermented foods and beverages.

We know from our informal observation that diet does seem to play an important role in managing CV. Many women claim that their symptoms improved when they cut out sugar, dairy and alcohol. It's worth trying to cut down on these if you are dealing with CV.

Some experts believe that CV is thought to occur most frequently when estrogen levels are high. It seems to mainly effect women of reproductive age or with those on HRT or during a pregnancy. Some experts belive that having too much estrogen can trigger CV to develop.

Please use caution when taking probiotics because introducing more lactobacilli into your body when you already have a lactobacilli overgrowth can trigger symptoms to become worse. This includes foods rich in lactobacilli like dairy and fermented foods. Probiotics come in endless strains and types of bacteria and it's never a good idea to take them without really knowing what you are doing

Another condition similar to CV to be aware of is Lactobacillosis Vaginosis (LV). This involves the lactobacilli presenting as abnormally long and this like CV can be diagnosed using a wet mount. This disorder requires oral antibiotics to resolve. Baking soda will be unlikely to help in this case.

Lastly, Lactobacilli iners (L. iners) aren't considered CV and don't typically respond to using baking soda suppositories. Inners are often treated by using Clindamycin antibiotic cream which needs to be applied sparingly (e.g. half of an applicator) over a longer period (approx 3 weeks) to not disrupt the vaginal flora. This condition normally takes a couple of weeks until the unwanted symptoms start to improve. So stick with the treatment, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Fortunately with the correct treatment CV is easily resolved and is not permanent.

Please join us on for discussions, help and support.

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