Could Probiotics Be an Option for Treating and Preventing Urogenital Infections?

Gregor Reid, PhD, MBA, Andrew W. Bruce, MD, FRCS

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In This Article

Bacterial Vaginosis

The etiology of bacterial vaginosis is unknown, but we do know that it results from the overgrowth of various anaerobic bacterial species and is associated with the disappearance of hydrogen peroxide-producing lactobacilli, which dominate the normal vagina.[2] It is the most common cause of vaginal symptoms[3] and is commonly associated with endometriosis,[4] pelvic inflammatory disease,[5] and complications of pregnancy, including preterm labor.[6,7] Of concern is that many women subject to these potential health hazards are asymptomatic.

Unfortunately, current therapies for bacterial vaginosis are inadequate. Cure rates may be as low as 61% 1 month after treatment,[9,10] and there may be subsequent overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the vagina.[11] To complicate the clinical picture, this disease is frequently associated with other vaginal infections, such as candidiasis, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia. In summary, bacterial vaginosis is a disease that is frequently asymptomatic, difficult to diagnose, and associated with other pathology; it clearly requires new and more effective diagnosis and treatment.

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