26 July, 2011
B Complex and Vitamin C for Bacterial Vaginosis
Vitamin B may help treat vaginal yeast infections, but taking vitamin B complex will unlikely treat bacterial vaginosis. Some evidence suggests that the use of vitamin C – vaginally, not orally – may treat bacterial vaginal infections. But ask your doctor about the safety of treating bacterial vaginosis with vitamin C.
Symptoms and Types of Vaginitis
Bacterial vaginosis, an overgrowth of organisms in your vagina, is one of four types of vaginitis. The others are yeast infections, caused by a fungus; trichomoniasis, caused by a sexually transmitted parasite; and vaginal atrophy, sometimes present in women following menopause. All types of vaginitis include similar symptoms – discharge, pain and itching – so it makes sense to see a doctor to determine the cause of your vaginal infection before self-medicating with vitamins or other home remedies.
E.E. Petersen and colleagues from the science department at Polichem SA, a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland, tested the effects of vitamin C on bacterial vaginosis. The 277 participants, all of whom showed signs of bacterial infections, were treated either with vitamin C tablets inserted into their vaginas – one 250 mg tablet daily for six days – or a placebo. About 55 percent of the women treated with vitamin C recovered from their infections compared to about 26 percent of the women who received a placebo, according to the report published in June, 2011 in "Arzneimittelforschung."
Traditional treatment for bacterial vaginosis includes prescription medications such as metronidazole tablets. Prescription-strength vaginal creams or gels may also clear up bacterial vaginosis. Treatment usually lasts five to seven days. Although sexually inactive women may develop bacterial vaginosis, women most prone to this type of vaginitis include women with new or multiple sex partners and women whose method of birth control includes an intrauterine device -- IUD. The use of condoms may help prevent bacterial vaginosis.
If a yeast rather than bacterial infection caused your case of vaginitis, taking biotin – vitamin B-7 – may help. But scientists know little about biotin. A recommended daily allowance for the vitamin remains undetermined, and not all vitamin B complex supplements contain B-7. If you take vitamin B complex for any reason, read the labels carefully. Some B supplements contain excessive amounts of vitamin B. Taking B vitamins in large doses poses both moderate and serious side effects. You may experience rashes, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea or headaches if you take B vitamin complex. Two of the B-vitamins – B-3 and B-6 – may produce harmful side effects such as irregular heartbeat, vision loss, blood sugar escalation and liver, brain and nerve damage.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin B3 (Niacin); June 18, 2009
- Medline Plus: Thiamine (Vitamin B1); May 9, 2011
- Medline Plus; Riboflavin (Vitamin B2);Nov. 19, 2010
- Medline Plus:Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5); Nov. 19, 2010
- Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health: Vitamin B6
- Medline Plus;Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6); Dec. 13, 2010
- Keith Brofsky/Stockbyte/Getty Images