New study supports use of certain probiotic strains for BV
A new piece of clinical research has found that taking a probiotic supplement, containing Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, alongside conventional antibiotic medication significantly improved the symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) (see Probiotics Learning Lab for glossary), curing 83.1% of patients within 60 days of treatment 1.
The aim of this research was to assess the effectiveness of these two strains of bacteria in managing genital infections, as well as their effectiveness in maintaining a healthy intimate flora. So you can see why we're excited about the positive results!
As Kathy mentioned in her blog, in the Probiotics Learning Lab, the cause of BV isn’t well understood. However, we do know that an imbalance in the vaginal flora can affect its pH. And an increase in pH could lead to bacterial overgrowth and infections like BV. The standard treatments for these types of infections are antibiotics but in many cases the infections keep recurring as antibiotics can cause further dysbiosis.
With the rising risk of antibiotic resistance, there has been a lot of research into finding a lasting and safe solution for infections like BV. Therefore the results of this clinical trial are great news for patients and practitioners alike.
This randomised double-blind placebo study involved 42 women; 10 of the participants had vulvovaginal candidiasis while the other 32 women had bacterial vaginosis and an abnormal vaginal pH.
The women with BV were split randomly into 2 groups, with 16 women in each group. Group A were given daily oral capsules of the probiotic supplement (Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1), alongside antibiotics (7-day course), whilst group B took the antibiotics and a placebo containing methyl cellulose. They were given 2 capsules a day for the first 30 days, reduced to one a day for a further 30 days.
They found 81% of those taking the probiotic supplement (group A) had a normal vaginal pH within 30 days of taking the probiotics. In the placebo group, 31.3% (5 women) had a normal pH after the first 30 days. These results were consistent after 60 days of treatment, with 13 women in group A (probiotic supplement) cured.
This study shows these Lactobacillus strains don't only improve the effectiveness of the standard treatment, but could also reduce the rate of recurrence by helping to maintain a healthy vaginal pH balance.
Have a read of this lovely blog by Kathy to find out more about Bacterial Vaginosis and probiotics.
1. Shamshu, R., Vaman, J. & Nirmala, C., 2017. Role of probiotics in lower reproductive tract infection in women of age group 18 to 45 years. International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 6(2), pp. 671-681.