Treating Bacterial Vaginosis with Vaginal Vitamin C

Treating Bacterial Vaginosis with Vaginal Vitamin C
4.64 (92.83%) 53 votes

Vitamin C pitted head-to-head against antibiotics for bacterial vaginal infections.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

A study published in 1999 raised the exciting possibility that “cheap, simple, innocuous, and ubiquitous vitamin C supplements could prevent [a condition known as] pre-eclampsia.” But, a decade of research later, we realized that was merely a false hope, and that vitamin C supplements appear to play little role in women’s health.

But, they’re talking about oral vitamin C, not vaginal vitamin C, which has been found to be an effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis—an all-too-common gynecological disorder characterized by a fishy-smelling, watery-gray discharge.

Bacterial vaginosis “can best be described as an ‘ecological disaster’ of the vaginal microflora.” The normal lactobacillus-type good bacteria get displaced by an army of bad bacteria. Probiotics may help, repopulating with good bacteria, but the reason the bad bacteria took over in the first place was that the pH was off.

I’ve talked about the role diet may play in the development of this condition. For example, “saturated fat [intake] may increase vaginal pH,” allowing for the growth of undesirables. So, why not try to re-acidify the vagina with ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C? Now, this isn’t just plain vitamin C tablets, but specially formulated “silicon-coated” supplements that release vitamin C slowly, so as to not to be irritating. How well do they work? 100 women suffering from the condition split into two groups, and the vaginal vitamin C beat out placebo.

But how does vitamin C compare to the conventional therapy, an antibiotic gel? This is an important question. “Although perceived as a mild medical problem,” bacterial vaginosis may increase the risk of several gynecological complications, including problems during pregnancy, where you want to avoid taking drugs whenever possible.

The vitamin C appeared to work as effectively as the antibiotic. And so, especially like in the first trimester when you really don’t want to be putting drugs up there, vitamin C can really help. And, for women with recurrent episodes, using the vitamin C for six days after each cycle appears to cut “the risk of recurrence” in half.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Daniel Black.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

A study published in 1999 raised the exciting possibility that “cheap, simple, innocuous, and ubiquitous vitamin C supplements could prevent [a condition known as] pre-eclampsia.” But, a decade of research later, we realized that was merely a false hope, and that vitamin C supplements appear to play little role in women’s health.

But, they’re talking about oral vitamin C, not vaginal vitamin C, which has been found to be an effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis—an all-too-common gynecological disorder characterized by a fishy-smelling, watery-gray discharge.

Bacterial vaginosis “can best be described as an ‘ecological disaster’ of the vaginal microflora.” The normal lactobacillus-type good bacteria get displaced by an army of bad bacteria. Probiotics may help, repopulating with good bacteria, but the reason the bad bacteria took over in the first place was that the pH was off.

I’ve talked about the role diet may play in the development of this condition. For example, “saturated fat [intake] may increase vaginal pH,” allowing for the growth of undesirables. So, why not try to re-acidify the vagina with ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C? Now, this isn’t just plain vitamin C tablets, but specially formulated “silicon-coated” supplements that release vitamin C slowly, so as to not to be irritating. How well do they work? 100 women suffering from the condition split into two groups, and the vaginal vitamin C beat out placebo.

But how does vitamin C compare to the conventional therapy, an antibiotic gel? This is an important question. “Although perceived as a mild medical problem,” bacterial vaginosis may increase the risk of several gynecological complications, including problems during pregnancy, where you want to avoid taking drugs whenever possible.

The vitamin C appeared to work as effectively as the antibiotic. And so, especially like in the first trimester when you really don’t want to be putting drugs up there, vitamin C can really help. And, for women with recurrent episodes, using the vitamin C for six days after each cycle appears to cut “the risk of recurrence” in half.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video credit: Daniel Black.

Doctor's Note

The saturated fat video I mentioned can be found here: Bacterial Vaginosis & Diet.

There’s another way to get vitamin C into the body—dripped directly in the vein. Does that actually do anything? See:

For those of us who prefer to get vitamin C the old-fashioned way, through the mouth, and in foods rather than supplements, the question becomes, What is the Optimal Vitamin C Intake?

For those considering taking oral vitamin C in supplements instead, make sure you watch this video first: Do Vitamin C Supplements Prevent Colds but Cause Kidney Stones?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

91 responses to “Treating Bacterial Vaginosis with Vaginal Vitamin C

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          1. Wade – Engage the brain before opening the mouth. Just because someone reaches their 50’s we shouldn’t assume maturity comes with it, should we?




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          2. I get that acting like female issues are gross is offensive, but I really don’t think Scott or Wade necessarily meant that but rather talk of any infection can be kind of unappetizing when one is eating. I mean, I probably wouldn’t want to be eating when talking about or watching a video on facial pustules, for example, no matter the gender of the person with said skin infection. I’m not sure anything said here was actually against women or “lady parts,” at least of what I’ve read. I can see it’s important to remind that women issues are science and it’s nothing to be grossed out about, but I also don’t think that anyone meant any real harm here so if someone feels the need to remind them that, “hey, it’s science, it’s not gross, don’t be offensive” I also don’t think we should be condemning these guys.




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            1. @ S
              That is the way I read Wade’s comment, as well. The words did not bring my strong agreement or disagreement, since I was focused on the topic, itself.

              American society labors under a complex mix of different nationalities, income levels, educational levels, and political directions– only complicated by gender, race and age. Everyone seems poised to blow off when their Personal Issue Button (PIB) is pressed.

              No wonder other countries find America a cauldron of intolerance, not to mention ignorance and hypocrisy.




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              1. Hi alphaa10, as I went to “thumbs up” your comment I accidentally hit the thumbs down! I can’t seem to undo it, sorry! I was able give it a thumbs up as well, wish I could edit that mistake. Nonetheless, just wanted to let you know the thumbs down was a mistake on my part. I liked your comment.




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                1. And I meant I wish I could edit the “thumbs down” mistake.. my wording seemed confusing. God I wish there were an edit button lol.




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            2. I dont get why so many people are trying to correct this man about being graphic with these women’s videos when all of this stuff is online and it is not forced on anyone to open it and listen to it I don’t get it as simple common-sense if you don’t want to listen to it you don’t want to read it get off the page and go on to another site




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    1. Publicly shaming women’s bodies is personally offensive to me.

      Just guessing, . . but I bet your body does some biologically offensive things at times (since we are ALL biological beings).

      It’s time to grow up.




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        1. I was eating my lunch when I heard “gynecological disorder characterized by a fishy-smelling, watery-gray discharge.”

          It wasn’t​ a public shaming of women’s bodies.

          Sorry if I have offended anyone as that certainly wasn’t the intention.




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    2. Mix one tablespoon white vinegar in a quart of warm water and use as a douche. I read this in Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book, and it works great. Keeps the acidity level where it should be after intercourse.




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    1. Hello Gail,

      I think you have to consider the mechanism of action when thinking about if one treatment might work for another condition. With bacterial vaginosis we are thinking about disrupted flora. With cystitis, it is suspected that E Coli bacteria is involved. I am not sure if you could find a traditional MD who would endorse this treatment for cystitis since the standard treatment is antibiotics as prophylaxis. I did find this one PubMed research article on treating UTIs with vaginal Vitamin C. Looks interesting!

      Thanks for watching today’s video! And posting your question.

      Lisa Schmidt
      THE Mindful Nutritionist




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      1. I’d be interested in any comparisons between boric acid vaginal capsules which also work by lowering pH and Vitamin C. By comments or experience?




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    2. For cystitis I would suggest you look into using d mannose. This is the natural sugar that lines the urinary tract. You can buy it at health food stores in powdered form or capsules. When you take it orally, the bacteria think it’s Thanksgiving Day, jump off for the feast in the stream, and get washed on down the toilet! Works like a charm for me, and it also works beautifully for my husband, who used to have a kind of chronic low grade UTI that flared now and then, and affected his prostate negatively. He takes a teaspoon of powdered d mannose daily and the infections have stopped. It also worked for a cousin who was having the same problem. If I suspect a UTI I take a teaspoon maybe three times a day for a couple of days, and voila! Gone!




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        1. I honestly cannot remember where I learned about d mannose for UTIs. I’ve known about it for many years. It has always worked.

          For a long time people have recommended drinking cranberry juice for UTIs, and they contain d mannose naturally. However, it was never a concentrated enough dose for me to get any help.




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    3. Gail my mom suffered from Cystitis for many years until a visiting physician from Germany at Hinez Research Hospital in Chicago filled her bladder with straight Clorox and the problem went away completely and never returned. The treatment sounds harsh but it worked beautifully. That was may years ago. I’m not aware of the doctor’s name or any of the science behind it. It might be worth investigating. Best wishes.




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        1. He may have had some experience treating fungal infections that way and thought it would work in the Bladder. I have no idea what led up to that discovery or if straight Clorox is too toxic for that application. There must be some documentation on the procedure somewhere. I wish I could remember more of the details surrounding this unconventional treatment. All I remember is that it was straight Clorox bleach and it worked beautifully. She lived another 20 some years and was never bothered by it again.




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            1. She definitely didn’t drink the bleach. The doctor administered the bleach vaginally. I don’t recall if it burned. I wish I could remember more of the details. You might call Heinz Research Hospital in Chicago to see if they have any documentation on the subject.




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    1. The videos “drop” about the time I eat in the mornings, and I’d rather start my day with them than most of the other garbage information floating around in the AM.

      There have been some really graphic images presented without warning in the past and they can make you gag on a blueberry. I had no problem with today’s video, but that I shouldn’t have commented on the “warning”.




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      1. Wade, you keep digging yourself further into your own very distinctly undesirable hole. Stop trying to cover from your obvious pleasure at Scotts most disgusting comment at the beginning. Stop insulting the intelligence of the women who view this site. We are NOT that stupid.
        Just stop talking – because every time you open your mouth you look more dumb, disrespectful and insensitive than the last time you opened your mouth. None of us buy what you are saying.




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        1. Sorry you feel that way Kaitlyn.

          But that I cannot let comments accusing me of less than honesty stand unanswered.

          You clearly do not get my genuine concern for the health of us all, as humanity. I have no problems with “womens’ issues” and that had no-thing to do with my reply to that first comment.

          I have seen nearly every single video here and I’ve commented on hundreds. If you’ve seen those with graphic images that came out in the last two and a half years, then you’d see that I commented PER THOSE images and breakfast at that time. The evidence is out there.

          It’s quite OK that you don’t “get me” or my intent (or my inherent honesty), but that I do certainly hope that I never appear as “dumb, disrespectful, and insensitive” toward women (or any other group of folks) as you think I do.

          Yes, of course I’ve learned here to be extremely cautious now where the title indicates any sort of “WI” video. And I do apologize to any/all who didn’t understand my poorly timed/written comment.

          Bigotry is not my game. I watch WI videos when Dr. G posts them because I have many friends and family members that I could possibly help by understanding and sharing those ideas found here. Some of them do not keep current on the latest nutritional and natural health studies. I try.

          +++++++++++

          On a related note, (and not a diversionary tactic as Kaitlyn may think) this is another example of LOTS of wasted energy and angst (amongst us of similar nutritional bents) where I could not go back and EDIT or DELETE my post because of this lousy Word Press environment we are now caged in.

          Given that basic functionality (as it existed in Disqus and everywhere else I interface with the digital world), I would have yanked that reply to the other fellow’s comment AS SOON AS I’d seen the video. It simply didn’t apply to this video.

          But here in Word Press Land, a card laid is a card played. So: compose, edit, wait, edit, wait, edit, proof and then
          SET THAT SHIT IN STONE.

          No wait. Stone can be edited…

          This video didn’t “offend” me in the least, but that I cannot edit or delete any commentary in the Word Press does.

          Fin




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  1. I have multiple sclerosis. I try to eat the best I can. I think I doing well now. Only eat real food, not fake! Eat only through the mouth. what do you know about multiple sclerosis. Anyone?




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    1. hi Darek B, congratulations on taking care of yourself through good nutrition ! I saw your question and remembered that Dr Mcdougall (another respected plant based doctor) has resources at his website. https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/hot-topics/medical-topics/multiple-sclerosis/ Also, check under Success Stories at that site for people who have MS and have improved there health vastly through whole food plant based eating. I hope you enjoy checking out those resources. All the best to you .




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    2. There is a Swank Diet group on FB. They let me join because my dad has MS. He won’t change what he eats, but I often refer those who are open-minded to that group. Methinks you’ll be pleased if you look into it. Many there are doing quite well.




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    3. I know someone with MS but have been reluctant to approach her with the idea of trying a WFPB diet to see if it helps with symptoms. I would love to hear how your experience progresses.




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      1. That was a fantastic video. It seems almost too good to be true but looks like another easy fix for another terrible disease.




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      2. Thank you for sharing the video. I had yet to discover it. It does sound too good to be true but so did the reversal of heart disease and diabetes, until now.




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    1. Hi Ilana,

      I am a volunteer moderator who helps Dr. Greger answer questions on Nutritionfacts – also a dietitian nutritionist based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

      I did a quick search on Nutritionfacts to find a video or blog on boric acid which you referred to – I cannot find a thing! I am wondering if you might be remembering this differently than how Dr. G posted on the site? If you can let me know when/where/topic you found this, I’m happy to share the link with everyone!
      Thanks for your comment!

      Lisa Schmidt
      THE Mindful Nutritionist




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      1. Boric Acid suppositories for vaginal yeast infections are recommended by some doctors as a cheaper, effective, less side effect prone alternative to oral anti-fungal drugs. This old web posting talks about it, and perhaps of more interest to you, Lisa, would be the references noted at the bottom of the web page. Boric Acid vaginal suppositories can be quite effective but may irritate the vulva. I have not researched or seen reference to Boric Acid suppositories to treat vaginal bacterial infections.




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  2. Are the “specially formulated ‘silicon-coated’ supplements that release vitamin C slowly” available to the general public?




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      1. If you are Jeri the CNM at KP-Riv, you should show this article and especially the sources cited by Dr. Greger to the pharmacists…I’m sure they could compound something fairly easily.




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  3. But why do women have vaginal microbiomes so out of pH kilter to begin with? What is the cause? And if diet can alter the gut microbiome so effectively, is there any impact of diet among vaginal microbes?




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  4. I am shocked that Dr. Greger has anything good to say about ascorbic acid, because many of his video are anti-supplement in tone and totally positive for diet as the only way to improve health. Just a week ago, Dr. Greger was saying how ascorbic acid actually harmed muscle growth in body builders who take vitamin C in the hopes of faster regeneration of muscle cells after a work out. I think this is a problem with short 3 minute videos in that only present one side of the story, but the problem is that people generate opinions based upon the good doctors opinion from this short video clips. If a listener hears Dr. Greger insinuate that ascorbic acid may actually cause free radical damage to muscle cells, then that listener may just write off ascorbic acid altogether. I remember working in ICU as an RN back in the 1990’s and we used to give some patients ascorbic acid intravenously…..you could look over across the unit and see those yellow liquid bags of ascorbic acid dripping in at about 70 drops per minute.




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    1. But that is oral supplementation. Oral supplementation is different than a whole food. Our bodies work perfectly with whole plant foods, nature knows much better than man trying to emulate it and make patented forms in a lab. From my understanding, one of the negative aspects of taking antioxidants in supplement form, including vitamin C, is that you can get too much of the one thing, and if there is nothing in your body for it to work with (as there would be in the food package you’d ordinarily get these isolated nutrients from) then the excess vitamin C or other isolated antioxidant such as resveratrol, becomes a free radical itself, causing oxidative damage. It’s explained really well here: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=143

      The more antioxidants, the better! But in their real form, from food.

      I agree that sometimes the videos can be short leaving you wanting more while others answer every single question you might have on a subject, but I so appreciate them either way. I think it’s expected of us to use our own minds as we form our opinions and choose whether or not to supplement with something. There is so much helpful information provided by Dr. Greger in order to help us do so. I am grateful for his research, book, and free information!




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    2. Why shocked? Generalizations can be dangerous. Yes, ORAL supplementation of artificially isolated nutrients ARE generally frowned upon because taken out of their whole food complement and frequently synthesized and unregulated, they are very different in effect, and often even harmful. Intravenous or suppository usage of specific, tested nutrients are medicinal/pharmacological applications that fall outside the supplementation category. Certainly something an RN should be aware of.




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      1. Working as an RN at university hospital ICU department,

        many times doctors would treat severe infections with

        intravenous ascorbic acid and in some cases it really helped

        the patient to get better. I think doctor Greger is wrong about

        the use of ascorbic acid to help people.

        How do you account for all of the numerous cures that

        Dr. Thomas E. Levy MD has facilitated by giving intravenous

        ascorbic acid. You can look him up on YouTube or read his

        book “Curing the Incurable”.

        From what I have seen with some patients in ICU back in




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        1. Yes, it’s a lot of work was made to convince everybody that vit C doesn’t work, when actually it works pretty well in my experience.
          Even untreatable cancer patients fells better and really do better with it (at least 3 of my friends do).
          And it’s remarkable how many people try to disprove it.
          What would big farma do if you have smth cheap and effective?




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    3. I see this as a topical application to a specific body part, like capsaicin on an arthritic joint, rather than a nutrient supplement.




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  5. I like the idea of treating BV with intra vaginal vit C but where do you find this silicone coated capsule?? Have a feeling it’s only made for researchers??




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    1. in Russia some capsules are in sale, I don’t know capsulated they or not, but they costs as much as 300 equivalent doses of cheap vit C, so they have to be.




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    2. Hi Nicole- If you Google “coated vitamin C” you will find several sources. The point was to use coated tablets as opposed to non coated for ease of insertion. -Dr Anderson, volunteer.




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  6. As a corrective exercise specialist, and fitness trainer, I have made an official apology to my 20 some odd clients for the kindergarten responses on this website today regarding women’s health. To those who have regressed to five years of age, I implore you…. grow up !




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  7. My mother was a big fan of vinegar douches. After I was well into adulthood, I heard she referred to having a pickled ******. Same theory–acidification; beneficial bacteria; etc.




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  8. vit C also has abortive ability so it doesn’t looks so good when you recommend it to pregnant women.
    But antibiotics are really disaster.




    0
  9. Off topic question:
    How much flax is recommended in the daily dozen list?
    I’d prefer the answer in terms of weight (grams), but if given in volumetric measurements (tablespoons, teaspoons), please specify if the flax is measured intact or already ground.




    1
    1. hi CD, on page 338 of “How Not to Die’ Dr Greger recommends 1tablespoon ground flaxseed per day. Golden or brown flaxseeds, your choice. He also says they should last four months at room temperature, but I refridgerate mine in a sealed jar.




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    2. Without looking it up, I think it’s 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds. You can get the Daily Dozen app free for both Iphone and Android.




      0
  10. Dr. Greger should make a video for yeast infections. I know boric acid pessaries can help to get rid of them, but I’d really like to not get them at all. That would be nice.




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  11. Good morning, all! Now let’s quit fighting. We we all here because we respect Dr Gregers wisdom and expertise. Our former primary care physician, before we relocated, prescribed Jarrow Fem-Dophilus capsules for post-menopausal bladder issues. They are taken orally but help return friendly flora to the urinary and vaginal tracts. I do believe they help. I get up less often at night. If interested, you can read how it was obtained and produced.




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  12. What exactly is the dosage and length of time for treatment with the vitamin C suppositories?
    Probably would need to get it compounded at a compounding pharmacy, correct?




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  13. I, too, am wondering about the availability of Vit C suppositories. I see no answers coming up here so I guess an internet search and call to the pharmacy will be next.




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  14. Thank you for another great video! where can we find these special ascorbic acid tablets? Is it just normal silicone coated vitamin c or does it have to be vaginal tablets?
    Thank you in advance!




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  15. Hello Dr. Greger – have you come across any research done on ureaplasma infections? this seems to be an unknown topic for many doctors. I have been recently been recommended a treatment of pills derived from chicken and bovine colustrum (Transfer Factor PlasMyc) by a healthcare professional. I would really appreciate any information you can send my way. Thank you very much!




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  16. Cynthia,

    I did a bit of research and found that the suggested solution was tested against, Ureaplasma urealyticum and not necessarily the two principle species, Ureaplasma urealyticum and the less common Ureaplasma parvum. I did register for access to their library, however they need to “approve” the physicians before granting access…..

    Perhaps one approach is to get more specificity from a culture and then decide what’s the most appropriate treatment. I have used transfer factor products years ago and did have some postivive resposnses.

    Your probably also aware that a host of low impact antibiotics are also useful for this infection and….. you need to treat your other half as they too will be infected.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




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    1. Thank you so much, Dr. Kadish!. I will aks my doctor to conduct the culture. I have already taken antibiotics, and so did my husband, but the treatment was unsuccessful :(. I was also on a garlic based natural treament – a pill called Allimed. The infection is recurrent. This is why my physician decided to research other potential treatments. I feel very uncomfortable with the suggested treament, due to its animal origin, but I feel very frustrated that all other treatments did not work at all.

      Thanks again for your prompt response and help!




      0
  17. The Vitamin C treatment for vaginitis was administered vaginally.
    Your question was asked before and moderator Dr.Alan Kadish provided this information: “The company that sponsored the study is Ploichem and you can find their product at : http://www.polichem.com/polichem/products/details?uuid=877f3a09-4363-419f-9879-c0d5497c6a54.

    You can also ask your compounding pharmacist to make the 250mg suppositories.”

    I hope this is helpful
    Here is the study itself:
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51199407_Efficacy_of_vitamin_C_vaginal_tablets_in_the_treatment_of_bacterial_vaginosis_A_randomised_double_blind_placebo_controlled_clinical_trial




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  18. What about filling your own Boric Acid vaginal suppository capsules versus silicon vitamin c capsules for BV or candida during pregnancy? Boric Acid also facilitates ideal pH to clear up overgrowth of harmful fungus and bacteria. Then afterward you can insert probiotics.




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