Bacterial vaginosis is a condition that combines an overgrowth of bacteria and a change of pH in the vagina. The primary symptom of this condition is a vaginal discharge, however, many women who have this condition do not notice any symptoms. While antibiotics are the most common treatment for vaginosis, folic acid and acidophilus supplements provide a milder and more alternative way to treat bacterial vaginosis.
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Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
When a woman suffers bacterial vaginosis, there is a significant reduction in the number of normal hydrogen peroxide-producing lactobacilli and a significant increase in the number of anaerobic bacteria in the vagina. This can happen for many reasons. Usually an initial infection disturbs the vaginal balance and causes the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. Women under significant stress and psychological pressure experience changes in the vaginal pH, which leads to bacterial vaginosis often without any prior infection.
Acidophilus and Folate
Lactobacillus acidophillus are naturally occurring beneficial bacteria in the vagina and gut. Folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps the body to make healthy new cells. It interacts with cellular DNA and supports healthy functions. MedlinePlus recommends between 1 to 2 billion CFU twice every day for up to six days for treating bacterial vaginosis. The recommended dose of folic acid for adult men and women is 400 mcg/day.
A study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" suggests that the dietary intake of selected nutrients can affect the balance of bacteria in the vagina. In this study, folic acid intake was inversely associated with bacterial vaginosis. Folic acid supports the replication of acidophilus in the vagina and helps restore the balance of the bacterial flora. Acidofillus bacteria also produce lactic acid, which further corrects the pH of the vagina. Lactic acid has the ability to kill anaerobic bacteria and protects or treats vaginal infections. Acidophilus is available in the form of vaginal suppositories while folate is available in the form of pills that have to be taken orally.
Since acidophilus acid is a probiotic supplement consisting of live bacteria, it can potentially trigger an infection if you exceed the recommended dose. Folate acid is safe to take after a certain dosage, and no additional positive effects have been recorded. You should consult your physician before using acidophilus vaginal suppositories.