Urogenital infections in women: can probiotics help?
- Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
- Correspondence to: Dr Gregor Reid, Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, and Surgery, University of Western Ontario, and Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics, Lawson Health Research Institute, 268 Grosvenor Street, London, Ontario N6A 4V2 Canada;
- Received 27 January 2003
- Accepted 30 March 2003
Urogenital infections not caused by sexual transmission, namely yeast vaginitis, bacterial vaginosis, and urinary tract infection remain a major medical problem in terms of the number of women afflicted each year. Although antimicrobial therapy is generally effective at eradicating these infections, there is still a high incidence of recurrence. The patient’s quality of life is affected and many women become frustrated by the cycle of repeated antimicrobial agents whose effectiveness is diminishing due to increasing development of microbial resistance. There is good clinical evidence to show that the intestinal and urogenital microbial flora have a central role in maintaining both the health and wellbeing of humans. Furthermore, the use of “good bacteria” to replace or augment bacterial populations is gradually achieving scientific acceptance. This application is termed probiotics: “live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. The role of the intestinal, vaginal, and urethral flora and probiotics in urogenital health will be the focus of this review.