InfectionPre, Pro, Synbiotics

Preventing recurrent bacterial vaginosis with probiotics, conveniently

Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, in China report positive results with a simplified probiotic treatment regimen.

First, the details.

  • 120 healthy Chinese women with a history of recurrent bacterial vaginosis were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 7 days of treatment, then 7 days of no treatment, and 7 days of treatment again.
    • Vaginal prophylaxis with 1 capsule (Probaclac Vaginal; Nicar Laboratories) containing 8 billion colony-forming units of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, L acidophilus, and Streptococcus thermophilus
    • Placebo capsule
  • Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection, with symptoms that include an odorous vaginal discharge.

And, the results.

  • Probiotic preventive treatment (prophylaxis) resulted in significantly lower recurrence rates for bacterial vaginosis (16% vs 45%) and Gardnerella vaginalis incidence through 2 months (4% vs 18%).
    • Gardnerella vaginalis is an infection of the female genital tract.
  • Between the 2- and 11-month follow-up periods, women who received probiotics reported a lower incidence of bacterial vaginosis and G. vaginalis.
  • No side effects were reported in either study group.

The bottom line?

Aside from the effectiveness of the probiotic treatment, most interesting is that long-term prevention (11 months) required a short period of treatment — 2, 7 day treatments separated by 7 days off treatment.

Earlier this year, researchers in Italy reported the effectiveness of a long-term (24 months) intravaginal treatment with Lactobacillus rhamnosus (Normogin) on vaginal symptoms in 40 women with bacterial vaginosis.

There’s a need for convenient preventive therapy. Researchers in Belgium, in a review of the treatment of bacterial vaginosis concluded, “Treatment remains cumbersome and clinicians are currently rather poorly armed to treat bacterial vaginosis in the long run.”

9/13/10 21:54 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.