Bacterial Vaginosis Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is one of three common types of vaginitis which includes vaginal yeast infection and trichomoniasis, and the most common vaginal infection. Does that surprise you? If you're like many women, you may have thought that vaginal yeast infections are the most common vaginal infection.

New research, published in The Journal of Nutrition (June 2009) and reported in The New York Times, has found a link between low levels of Vitamin D and bacterial vaginosis.

Previously known contributing factors in the development of BV have included hot weather, poor health, poor hygiene, use of an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control, and routine vaginal douching, as well as the transference of E.coli from the rectum to the vagina during sexual intercourse.

According to The Times article, an analysis of 469 pregnant women, which included 209 white women and 260 black women, found that over half of the women had Vitamin D levels that were less that half of the generally accepted normal level of at least 80. Women whose Vitamin D levels were less than 37 were more than 50% more likely to have bacterial vaginosis. Significantly more black women had BV than white women with 52% of black women having the vaginal infection compared to only about 27% of white women who had the infection. It's thought this difference may occur because darker skin simply doesn't synthesize the Vitamin D provided by sunshine as well as lighter skin.

So, does this mean women should start supplementing their Vitamin D intake? Definitely not. Always talk to your doctor before you begin taking any supplements, as well as any herbs or other alternative treatments.

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