Folic acid for BV? Is it effective?
Folate (also known as vitamin B9) is important in red blood cell formation. It is one of the eight vitamins in the vitamin-B complex.
The synthetic form of folate is folic acid.
Folic acid supplements are standard for women who plan to become pregnant and pregnant women because they help prevent neural tube defects – serious birth defects of the brain (anencephaly) and the spinal cord (spina bifida).
Lack of vitamin B9 in your regular diet can cause anemia or not sufficient red blood cells for good health. Even if you are consuming enough vitamin B9, taking certain medications can deplete it. These medications include:
- some antibiotics;
- Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
- Exenatide (Bydureon, Byetta);
- certain ulcer medications;
- water pills or diuretics;
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like – naproxen, ibuprofen, or diclofenac.
Does Folic Acid Help Treat BV?
Bacterial vaginosis is a very common type of vaginal infection. The vagina naturally has an environment containing “bad” and “good” bacteria.
In cases of BV, there is an excess of bad bacteria which throws the vaginal environment out of balance.
Certain risk factors which increase the chances of developing bacterial vaginosis include:
- vaginal douching;
- multiple or new sexual partners;
- cigarette smoking;
- emotional stress;
- recent antibiotic use;
- IUDs for birth control.
An estimated 21.2 million women living in the United States tested positive for BV infection at one point during the 3-year period of the study, according to a study done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis may include:
- light spotting or bleeding from the vagina;
- pain during urination;
- experiencing pain during intercourse;
- irritation and itching feeling;
- vaginal discharge.
According to the data, supplementing with folic acid doesn’t appear to treat bacterial vaginosis. However, it may help reduce your risk of severe BV since it has a boosting effect on the immune system.
If you are considering taking folic acid for BV, speak to your doctor first to discuss whether it is right for you.
For most women, the usual recommended dose of folic acid is 400 mcg per day.
The maximum recommended dose of folic acid is set at 1,000 mcg per day.
The best source of folate is your regular diet since the body is more adept at using it. Also, since it is a water-soluble B vitamin, you should eat folate-rich foods every day.
These foods may include – spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans, split peas, or green peas.
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Other Remedies For Bacterial Vaginosis
Antibiotics can treat most cases of bacterial vaginosis. Antibiotic treatments for BV should start to work within 48 hours. However, there are a few natural remedies that can also help beat the condition. Here is what you should try:
#1 Boric Acid
It is a compound that can get rid of harmful bacteria. However, do keep in mind that it can be toxic if used internally and shouldn’t be used on open wounds either. In addition, this remedy is not recommended during pregnancy.
One capsule used vaginally at bedtime can help cure the condition.
#2 Hydrogen Peroxide
This substance decomposes into oxygen and water, making it one of the safest disinfectants. By oxidizing the harmful bacteria, hydrogen peroxide can help eliminate the infection, hence, eliminating the condition.
#3 Oregano Oil
It is another treatment that commonly gives good results because it has potent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. These attributes reduce the level of infections and speed up the recovery time.
The sulfur compounds in garlic have powerful antimicrobial characteristics. This makes it useful in treating vaginal infections. There are several ways in which you can use garlic to cure this infection, including:
- you can take garlic supplement pills. They are commonly found in the supplement store or grocery stores;
- combine three drops of garlic oil with 1 tsp of coconut oil and vitamin E oil. Apply that mixture to the vagina two times per day;
- you can also start using more raw garlic in your cooking at home by adding minced garlic, cloves, or garlic powder to your regular nutrition.
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#5 Tea Tree Oil
It contains natural antifungal and antibacterial compounds which may help kill the germs which cause the condition. Additionally, it will combat the smell which is common during the infection period.
Tip – since tea tree essential oil might prove to be allergic to some, it is recommended to perform a patch test before applying it topically.
#6 Apple Cider Vinegar
Another effective home remedy for bacterial vaginosis is apple cider vinegar. This is most likely due to its acidic nature which makes it difficult for the pathogenic bacteria to survive.
To use it, you can simply douche in a mixture containing 1 tsp of ACV and 2 cups of water. Moreover, you can add half a cup of ACV to the bath, and soak in it for about half an hour.
It has been used as a natural remedy for feminine problems for centuries. Fenugreek has been shown to restore the vagina’s natural pH levels and strengthen the immune system.
This spice can be added to your daily serving of vegetable salad or taken orally in a capsule.
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Here are a few ways to prevent the condition:
- avoid processed foods and foods high in trans- and saturated-fats since they create a perfect environment for the anaerobic bacteria to flourish;
- have a regular diet high in dietary fiber to maintain a healthy bacterial colony in your vagina and your digestive tract. Foods rich in fiber include – chickpeas, red kidney beans, almonds, walnuts, lentils, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, cabbage, navy beans, oatmeal, oat bran, quinoa, ginger, avocados, or bananas.
- wear cotton pants and underwear to prevent moist conditions which can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria;
- ensure proper hygiene;
- avoid douching to maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the vagina;
- avoid having multiple sex partners;
- use a condom while having sex.
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References https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3218540/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1677062 https://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/folic_acid/