Top 7 Foods to Avoid with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common condition characterized by an imbalance in the growth of bacteria in the vagina.

The most common symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include thin vaginal discharge that may be white, gray, or green. 

Some other signs include foul-smelling vaginal odor, itching, and burning during urination.

Your BV diet plays a key role in maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina. 

Adopting a balanced diet may contribute to overall well-being, including vaginal health.

However, some foods can promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the vagina and cause disruptions in the vaginal pH, thus exacerbating the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. 

It is important to be aware of the foods to avoid with BV in order to support recovery and prevent recurrence.

Here is a list of 7 foods you to avoid with BV and what to eat instead to restore a healthy vaginal pH and relieve the symptoms of BV.

7 Foods to Avoid When You Have Bacterial Vaginosis

1) Refined carbohydrates

Food containing refined carbs, such as candies, pastries, and cakes, can cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels. 

This can feed unhealthy bacteria in your vagina and worsen the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. It can also put you at risk of fungal infections.

In addition, foods containing refined sugars also disrupt the balance of bacteria in the vagina by supporting the release of secretions containing sugars. 

This makes it easier for bacteria and fungi to accumulate in the moistened vaginal area, thus worsening your symptoms of vaginosis.

2) Fried food

Unhealthy fat, such as trans fat and saturated fat, in fried food can affect the balance of good bacteria in the vagina. 

It can increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis in addition to causing a bad odor.

These are some reasons why it is important to avoid eating fried foods when you have BV. 

You may include foods having healthy fats, such as unsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids, in your diet to improve the growth of good bacteria. 

3) Alcohol

Alcohol tends to dehydrate the tissues of the vagina, especially when you are drinking too much without adequate water breaks in between. 

The increased intake of alcoholic beverages can also reduce the natural lubrication in the vagina, which plays a role in washing away unhealthy bacteria and restoring a healthy pH.

The dehydration of the vaginal tissue, coupled with the decline in natural lubrication, can hamper the body’s natural defenses against bacteria and fungi, thus making it more likely for you to develop bacterial vaginosis.

mounjaro and alcohol

4) Coffee

If you suffer from severe symptoms of bacterial vaginosis, you might need to limit your intake of coffee and other caffeinated beverages such as tea and colas.

Caffeine present in these beverages might negatively affect your body’s ability to fight off bacterial and yeast infections. 

Caffeine can also disrupt the pH balance in the vagina, which is another reason why you must limit your caffeine intake.

5) Cheese

Although dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, are generally assumed to be healthy, the same cannot be said about cheese. 

Unfortunately, cheese is not a safe food to eat when you have bacterial vaginosis.

Cheese can disrupt the growth of bacteria in the vagina, putting you at risk of getting an infection. Cheese can also give an unpleasant odor to your vagina and urine.

6) Processed foods

Most processed foods contain chemical additives and preservatives that can interfere with the functions of your immune system, allowing harmful bacteria to grow and thrive easily.

This can make you vulnerable to developing bacterial vaginosis as well as other issues such as fungal infections, dryness, painful intercourse, and urinary tract infections.

7) Certain Types Of Meat

Some types of meat that contain xenoestrogen need to be avoided when you have bacterial vaginosis.

Xenoestrogen is an artificial hormone that mimics the effect of estrogen. It can block the action of estrogen produced in your body on the vagina and prevent the formation of the protective mucosal lining, thus leaving you open to infections.

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What To Eat To Help BV Symptoms

Some foods can help to improve the growth of healthy bacteria in the vagina, restore normal vaginal pH, and support the healing of the affected tissues. 

The intake of these foods can help relieve the symptoms of BV, promote faster recovery, and prevent the recurrence of the condition.

Here are some foods that help with BV:

  1. Probiotics, such as yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, and sauerkraut.
  2. Prebiotics such as leeks, garlic, onions, oats, soybeans, bananas, and whole wheat products.
  3. Foods containing proanthocyanidins, such as cranberries.
  4. Avocados.
  5. Sweet potatoes.

Other Things to Avoid with BV

In addition to your food intake, there are a few other factors that can influence your chances of developing bacterial vaginosis. 

Let us have a look at some other things to avoid when you have BV in order to promote recovery:

  • Avoid dehydration to ensure adequate lubrication of the vagina.
  • Don’t wear tight jeans.
  • Avoid using antibiotics unless absolutely necessary or when advised by your doctor.
  • Don’t wipe from back to front after going to the loo.
  • Avoid personal hygiene products, including soaps and shower gels, that contain harmful chemicals or artificial fragrances.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does sugar cause BV?

Yes, an increased intake of sugars, especially refined sugars, can cause bacterial vaginosis as they feed bacteria and support their growth.

Can probiotics cure BV?

Probiotics can help to relieve the symptoms of BV and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Moreover, research has revealed that the absence of healthy bacteria, especially lactobacilli, in the vagina is associated with a higher risk of bacterial vaginosis. 

Probiotics offer a rich source of lactobacilli that can replenish the vaginal microbiome and relieve the symptoms of BV.


Being conscious of your dietary habits can contribute to a healthy lifestyle and may positively impact your well-being.

Being conscious of your dietary habits and avoiding the intake of foods that can cause or worsen bacterial vaginosis is essential for maintaining your vaginal health.

Make sure you avoid the foods that could hurt your vaginal tissues so that managing bacterial vaginosis becomes easier.

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  1. Kairys N, Garg M. Bacterial Vaginosis. 2023 Jul 4. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29083654.
  2. Noormohammadi M, Eslamian G, Kazemi SN, Rashidkhani B. Association between dietary patterns and bacterial vaginosis: a case-control study. Sci Rep. 2022 Jul 16;12(1):12199. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-16505-8. PMID: 35842517; PMCID: PMC9288476.
  3. Froehle L, Ghanem KG, Page K, Hutton HE, Chander G, Hamill MM, Gilliams E, Tuddenham S. Bacterial Vaginosis and Alcohol Consumption: A Cross-Sectional Retrospective Study in Baltimore, Maryland. Sex Transm Dis. 2021 Dec 1;48(12):986-990. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001495. PMID: 34618783; PMCID: PMC8595786.
  4. Webb L. Probiotics for preventing recurrent bacterial vaginosis. JAAPA. 2021 Feb 1;34(2):19-22. doi: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000731484.81301.58. PMID: 33448711.

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