Taking probiotics in addition to, or in the place of, antibiotic therapy to cure BV has shown promising results. The logic behind giving probiotic Lactobacillus species to women with a history of BV is to displace the pathogens and reestablish a dominant Lactobacillus probiotics population, which in turn creates an environment in which the native Lactobacillus are able to return to the dominant status. The Lactobacillus bacteria can then work with the body’s immune systems to eradicate the infection. Learn more about curing your BV naturally here.
Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis with Probiotics? Which Probiotics?
Numerous Lactobacillus species have the potential to be involved with treatment of bacterial vaginosis. L. iners, gasseri, crispatus, plantarum, rhamnosus, jensenii, vaginas, reuteri, acidophilus andsalivarius are some of them.
There is anecdotal evidence that some women have experienced relief from BV using tampons soaked in plain yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus or from gently injecting plain yogurt containing acidophilus strains species into their vaginas with turkey basters or other gentle methods.
What Do Scientific Studies Show?
In a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized study in 95 women, a combination probiotic vaginal capsule called was used. These women had undergone conventional treatments for bacterial vaginosis or vulvovaginal candidiasis. The product contained L. gasseri LN40, L. fermentum LN99, L. rhamnosus LN113 and P. acidilactici LN23 and was inserted in the vagina for 5 days.
It showed that 93% of women receiving the probiotic were cured in 2-3 days and 78% of them were still cured after one menstruation period, although the results weren’t statistically significant. The conclusions were that the 5 days of treatment with the probiotics after conventional treatment was done resulted in colonization of the vagina by the probiotic species, somewhat fewer recurrent infections, and less vaginal discharge odor.
The Lactobacillus bacteria mentioned in this last study are available in “ellen probiotic tampons” sold mostly in the EU.
In another study, 2 probiotics, Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis B94 were used in a product called “Fermalac Vaginal”. The study was not well-documented, but the results showed that treatment of bacterial vaginosis with conventional antibiotics and with Fermalac for 10 days, followed by use of Fermalac for prevention significantly prevented or delayed the recurrence of BV. Fermalac is available mostly in the EU.
Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis with Two Well-Known Probiotics
Additionally , two Lactobacillus strains have proven clinical performance in successful treatment of bacterial vaginosis in the majority of cases through oral swallowing of capsules: L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14. These strains were found to survive passage through the low pH of the stomach, survive through the intestines, and somehow rise up into the vagina to colonize it. No side effects were reported in studies. The capsules were sometimes inserted directly into the vagina, also.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 colonized well in some patients, but L. reuteri RC-14 colonized better in other patients. This is yet another example of why there is not one “best” probiotic microbe. It takes a village of microbes to be healthy.
Where to Find L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14
You can read more about the research on L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 on their individual pages. If you want to try a product which combines the 2 probiotic bacteria to help with your bacterial vaginosis, my first advice is to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to know the severity of your infection. Then, discuss how to cure BV using either:
- probiotics in combination with antibiotics;
- or probiotics alone.
Have this discussion with your doctor after reading more about the probiotic microbes and the products containing them on their individual pages.
NOTE: If you don’t make the appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle, chances are that you are going to relapse with BV. Taking probiotic supplements to help with a condition like BV is fine, but just like a drug, shortly after you stop taking it the advantages cease. Knowing how to cure BV means knowing that long-term positive changes in your life have more impact than short-term ones do, so consider making probiotic and live-culture foods a part of your healthy lifestyle.