Vitamin C is well-known as an essential nutrient. When you take basic vitamin C supplements, blood concentrations stay within a tightly controlled range. Intravenous vitamin C (IV-C) therapy, however, boosts blood plasma concentrations of the vitamin higher.
For this reason, since the 1970s, vitamin C IV therapy has been postulated as a potential way to treat certain illnesses and diseases. Some studies suggest IV-C therapy may even be valuable for targeting urogynecological (urological and gynecological) conditions, such as chronic pelvic pain or recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Dr. Michael Coyle, urogynecology specialist, explores all promising treatments for women’s health, including IV-C therapy. Find out more about the potential benefits of IV-C therapy in urogynecology and for women’s health concerns below.
Vitamin C IV Therapy for Urogynecological Conditions
Urogynecology is a specialty in medicine that combines gynecological and urological health. Take a look at how vitamin V IV therapy may be beneficial for certain urogynecological conditions.
Chronic Pelvic Pain
Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is diagnosed with long-term pain (six months or more) in the pelvic area. This pain is not a direct result of usual menstrual pain or intercourse. CPP can be difficult to treat. Pinpointing a precise cause is not easy because many factors can be involved. At Coyle Institute, we do all we can to find the underlying cause of CPP. However, when a cause cannot be pinpointed, treatment goals become focused on managing the pain.
IV-C therapy may be a potential solution for helping with managing pain associated with CPP. Vitamin C has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and may even reduce reliance on opiates for symptom relief.
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic urogynecological condition characterized by chronic bladder pain, urgency and pelvic pain. The exact cause of IC is unknown, but the condition is often exacerbated by eating and drinking certain foods, such as carbonated, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. IC is also often aggravated by citrus or acidic foods, which may affect vitamin C intake and lead to a deficiency. Vitamin C IV therapy may be beneficial for IC by reducing inflammation in the bladder and promoting bladder healing.
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are typically solved with a course of antibiotics. However, some women develop antibiotic-resistant UTIs, which means the infection and the symptoms reoccur regularly (two UTIs in six months or three within a year).
With recurrent UTIs, most suggested treatments provide limited results at best. Therefore, there is substantial interest in alternative therapies for antibiotic-resistant UTIs. Vitamin C IV therapy, though it has not been extensively researched, may help by improving the pH of the bladder and reducing bacterial accumulation due to antimicrobial properties.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when an organ in the pelvic region — such as the uterus or bladder — slips from its position and prolapses into the vagina due to degrading muscle and lacking connective tissue support. These prolapses can be uncomfortable and painful for women, often causing issues with incontinence and quality of life.
IV-C therapy may benefit women with pelvic organ prolapse because of its role in promoting collagen production and tissue repair.
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IV-C Therapy and Hormonal Imbalances
IV vitamin C therapy may also benefit women with hormonal imbalances, even though research into the topic is just getting started.
Understanding Hormonal Imbalances in Women
Hormonal imbalances in women can be related to medications, stress, cancer treatment, thyroid issues and menopause. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance can include:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Mood changes, depression, and anxiety
- Sweating or hot flashes
- Increased hunger or shirts
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Frequent urination
- Changes in bowel elimination frequency
Hormonal imbalances have a close tie with many urogynecological conditions, including pelvic prolapse, ICC and CPP.
IV-C Therapy’s Potential Role in Hormone Regulation
Vitamin C is critical to supporting sex hormones in the female body, like estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, some researchers speculate that IV-C therapy could have a beneficial impact on hormonal imbalances. More research needs to be carried out to make definitive claims, but animal studies have shown vitamin C to have a positive effect on female hormone levels.
Safety and Efficacy of IV-C Therapy in Urogynecology
Side effects of IV vitamin C therapy are relatively rare. In a large-scale analysis of patients taking IV vitamin C, either no or minimal side effects were reported.
Nevertheless, some side effects may be possible. The short-term side effects of IV vitamin C may include:
- Feeling warm
- Swelling or pain at the injection site
IV vitamin C therapy may also not be suitable for all patients due to certain risks, such as a history of kidney disease or hemochromatosis.
Guidelines for Safe and Effective Use of IV-C Therapy
If you are considering IV-C therapy, working closely with Dr. Coyle and his team to develop a dosage and administration plan created explicitly to target your symptoms is crucial. Additionally, vitamin C treatment should involve continuous monitoring for side effects and symptom improvement.
Integrating IV-C Therapy Into Urogynecological Practice
Take a look at how Dr. Coyle and his team integrate IV vitamin C therapy with urogynecological treatment effectively and safely:
- Collaboration with Other Healthcare Professionals: IV-C therapy should be integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan and involve coordinating care with primary care providers and specialists.
- Educating Patients on IV-C Therapy: Providing accurate and up-to-date information about IV-C therapy to patients and addressing misconceptions and concerns.
- Monitoring and Evaluating Treatment Outcomes: Tracking patient progress and adjusting treatment plans as needed is a must with any type of alternative therapy.
Embracing the Future: The Potential of IV-C Therapy in Urogynecology
While research on IV-C therapy’s role in urogynecology is just getting started, this is a promising alternative treatment for some conditions. Continued research and clinical trials will give us more insight into what role IV-C therapy could play in treating some of the most plaguing women’s health conditions. For now, IV-C therapy has the potential to improve women’s health and well-being when combined with other treatments.
Do you want to learn more about treatment options for your gynecological condition? Reach out to Dr. Coyle and the team at Coyle Institute by calling 850-637-8258.