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Cytolytic Vaginosis

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Cytolytic vaginosis is a condition where the vagina is overrun with lactobacillus. Lactobacilli are good bacteria that live in the vagina and they normally don’t cause any problems. In fact, they usually help your immune system, so cytolytic vaginosis is not classified as an infection.

The condition occurs when the delicate balance of the vagina is interrupted, causing too much good bacteria. Repeated use of antibiotics or anti-fungals can trigger it.

Symptoms include vaginal discharge, vulval itching and redness, pain when urinating and pain during intercourse. It can be mistaken for thrush.
Probiotics or live yogurt douches will make the problem worse so if you are using probiotics or yogurt to try and treat yourself and you’ve been diagnosed with cytolytic vaginosis, stop using them.

How is it diagnosed?

A gynecologist can take a swab to examine under the microscope and see if there is too much lactobacillus. Absence of yeast and other causes of infection is also a clue.


• Stopping all antibiotics, anti-fungals, yogurt douches and probiotics can often cure the problem.
• Avoiding soap on the genital area and just washing in warm water can re-balance the vaginal pH.
• Discontinue the use of tampons because they raise vaginal pH and can cause irritation.
• Baking soda sitz baths lower the acid levels and sooth the vagina. Having regular sitz baths can stop the itching. You can also mix baking soda with water to make a paste and put this on a sanitary pad to ease discomfort.
• Don’t wear underwear at night. Sometimes wearing loose fitting pants and no underwear can ease the symptoms.
• Abstinence from sexual intercourse during symptoms can help.
• Reducing the sugar in your diet may return your pH to normal.

If your symptoms have gone away after treatment you can have another swab to check that you are recovered. You may wish to continue some of the treatments, such as sitz baths, as a form of maintenance to prevent a recurrence of the condition.

Cytolytic Vaginosis, University of Virginia Student Health - http://www.virginia.edu/studenthealth/Cytolytic%20Vaginosis.pdf
Women's Health Update: Cytolytic Vaginosis; A Vaginitis You May Not Have Heard About - http://www.encognitive.com/node/6031

Reviewed June 6, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I'm confused on why taking probiotics will help with CV if CV is an overabundance of lactobacilli?

Wouldn't taking probiotics increase the lactobacilli and cause more symptoms?

May 29, 2016 - 2:02am
EmpowHER Guest

This article has a few errors. Cytolytic Vaginosis is characterized by an ACIDIC PH therefore the use of Sodium Bicarb will increase the PH to the proper level. This article states the opposite as if the author has "acids and bases" reversed. Please correct.

May 5, 2016 - 11:29am
EmpowHER Guest

I suffered from this for years until I minimized raw garlic, onions, lemon, and jalepeno pepper consumption. After a few days, the condition stopped. Symptoms arise whenever I consume a lot of those items but would fade away the sooner consumption stopped at least a few days afterwards

September 20, 2015 - 3:07am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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