NEW HAVEN, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the CDC, over 21 million women ages 14–49 are affected by Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and almost half of those treated experience a recurrence of symptoms within one year. A June 4, 2020 study published in Plos Pathogens reveals that women taking antibiotics for BV may be able to improve treatment outcomes if vaginal probiotics with Lactobacillus are taken in conjunction.
“Lactobacillus, yeast, and bacteria naturally live in the lower reproductive tract of healthy women and must remain in balance in order to lower vaginal pH and protect against BV and STI’s," says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, OB/GYN and Clinical Professor at Yale University. "BV can occur when there is an overgrowth of bad (pathogenic) bacteria causing a higher pH, which can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes, vaginal discharge, inflammation and STI’s including HIV. However, antibiotics prescribed to treat BV can strip the vagina of both good and bad bacteria, which can lead to a yeast infection, and the infection cycle begins again. A probiotic with specific strains of vaginal Lactobacilli will replenish the good bacteria to maintain healthy flora."
The strains of women’s vaginal Lactobacillus were compared to strains from commercial probiotic products for vaginal health, few of which contain Lactobacillus specific to the vagina. The study analyzed the way the bacteria affected the vaginal pH values. A healthy vaginal pH should be maintained at a pH of 3.4 - 4.5, indicating a healthy balance of good bacteria with no overgrowth of bad bacteria, confirming that probiotics containing Lactobacilli “perform better” and may help curb the recurrence of BV.
While not specifically cited in the study, a vaginal probiotic that is available over the counter is RepHresh Pro-B , a once-a-day probiotic supplement containing two clinically documented probiotic strains of Lactobacilli: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, specifically optimized for vaginal health.
“Timely diagnosis of BV is critical, because if left untreated, can lead to more serious issues like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections,” adds Minkin. “Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider to address symptoms to maintain good vaginal health.”