Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a fungal infection caused by candida species. Vulvar pruritus, burning and a curd-like discharge are the hallmark symptoms in most women with VVC. The inflammation and discomfort can lead to pain during intercourse and urination.
The most commonly reported statistics claim that up to 75% of women can expect to be affected by an episode of VVC in their lifetime, with 50% going on to have further episodes. Although, due to the non-reported nature of VVC, the statistics may not be a factual representation of the prevalence.
Debate over prevalence aside, it can be agreed that VVC is very common, probably poorly diagnosed and, in many cases, self-diagnosed and treated using over the counter (OTC) pharmaceutical treatments. Which is what makes a recent study published in the Journal of BioMedicine and Pharmacotherapy so interesting.
This study encompassed an in vitro and an in vivo arm, both of which demonstrated efficacy of co-administration of a vitamin B complex in resolving VVC infection.
The in vitro trial randomly assigned 158 subjects with complicated VVC into three groups.
|GROUP||TREATMENT||EFFICACY RATE||RECOVERY RATE|
|A||Suppository + oral antifungal agents||73.47%||61.22%|
|B||Suppository + vaginal cream||79.63%||62.96%|
|C||Suppository + vaginal cream + oral vitamin B complex||92.3%||72.73%|
The results showed a significantly higher incidence of efficacy and recovery for group C, whose treatment included the co-administration of oral B complex vitamins with standard OTC therapy.
Furthermore, in the in vivo arm, the mouse model demonstrated further efficacy with 80 VVC mice randomly assigned to one of four groups. The results indicated a relationship between inflammatory response and B vitamin dose. The higher the administered dosage of vitamin B complex, the lower the inflammatory scores.
|V2||50uL B complex + 100mL saline|
|V3||100uL B complex + 50mL saline|
|V4||150uL B complex only|
The inflammatory response of mice in the V1 group was found to be significantly higher than those in other three groups. The inflammation response reduced with the increases of dose of the vitamin B complex.
Furthermore, the vitamin B complex seemed to elevate the curative effects of fluconazole on VVC model of vaginal epithelial cells and significantly increased the antifungal effect of fluconazole.
From the combined effects of the two arms of this study, the researchers suggest that a vitamin B complex could make a worthy adjunctive therapy for those suffering either an initial or recurrent bout of VVC.
- Achkar J, Fries B. Candida infections of the genitourinary tract. Clin Microbiol Rev 2010;23(2):253-273 [Full Text]
- Ratohod S, Buffler P. Highly-cited estimates of the cumulative incidence and recurrence of vulvovaginal candidiasis are inadequately documented. BMC Women’s Health 2014;14:43 [Full Text]
- Sun MG, Huang Y, Xu YH, et al. Efficacy of vitamin B complex as an adjuvant therapy for the treatment of complicated vulvovaginal candidiasis: An in vivo and in vitro study. Boomed Pharmacother 2017;88:770-777 [Abstract]