Dr. Rose, M.D. (researcher)
Evan Jerkunica (writer)
There is high quality scientific research showing that probiotics can prevent and eliminate BV.E When probiotics are taken together with antibiotics treating BV, BV recurrence rates dramatically decrease. Probiotic supplementation can also prevent overgrowth of Candida albicans (yeast infection) often seen after antibiotics.F
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is an overgrowth of bad bacteria inside the vagina. So, scientists wanted to check if good bacteria (probiotics) could fight these invading bacteria, and possibly prevent BV, cure BV, or at least decrease the symptoms of this inflammatory condition.
The bacteria that causes BV is called Gardnerella vaginalis, and it is not supposed to be in the vagina. When G vaginalis invades, it can crowd out the native vaginal probiotic bacteria that maintain a healthy, non-inflamed, normal odor vagina.
The vagina’s healthy bacteria are overwhelmingly from the Lactobacillus family. They live together in a cooperative way, keeping out bad bacteria and yeasts.
But G. vaginalis can multiply rapidly, outgrow healthy vaginal bacteria, and form a slime layer that allows pathogenic bacteria to thrive. When G vaginalis overgrows, total bacteria counts in the vagina increase up to 1000 times, while the number of healthy Lactobacilli decreases.A
The typical treatment for BV is antibiotics, and there are a variety of reliable antibiotic combinations that eliminate BV.
The problem is that the BV often comes back! Post-antibiotic recurrence of BV is almost expected. So far, doctors haven’t found a combination of antibiotics that always prevents BV from returning. This reinfection after antibiotic BV treatment has led scientists and many women to try probiotics to BV for good…and to have a lower chance of BV regrowth.
Probiotics are considered safe and should probably be taken both during antibiotic treatment, and after antibiotics, since they help maintain or regrow normal healthy bacteria after they’ve been wiped out by the antibiotics.
In addition, they help strengthen a person’s immune system, and potentially have dozens of other health benefits.
Lactobacilli are the heroes in treatment and prevention of BV. In research studies, this family of probiotics is taken orally or put directly into the vagina with a vaginal suppository.
In a randomized prospective clinical trial (the best kind), capsules containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri worked better for BV than intravaginal metronidazole (an antibiotic).G
BV recurrence was prevented by daily treatment with an intravaginal capsule containing L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, and Streptococcus thermophilus. This study lasted 11 months.H
So in summary, the probiotic strains that help with bacterial vaginosis have been shown to be:
Late in 2019, we’ve been hearing about pilot studies on vaginal fluid transplants. This sounds like a logical treatment for people who don’t respond to antibiotic or probiotic supplementation for treating their bacterial vaginosis. It sounds very similar to the fecal transplants (FMT) for people who have digestive issues and other issues related to sub-optimal probiotics in their intestines.
Just as we screen blood transfusions for HIV, vaginal fluid transplants will need screening for std’s, viral infections and other pathogens will need to be perfected before this treatment becomes widespread. But once those issues are overcome, this is likely a very promising treatment. FMT has failed those screenings, so that treatment is banned currently in the USA for health risks.
We are still doing our research on the best probiotics for BV. Once we know, we’ll publish it here. But since Dr. Rose and I don’t have vaginas, we don’t have direct experience with these products. We want to do more research before we start vouching for products put into your vagina.
You should definitely contact your primary care provider, or OBGYN. More information on sources for Lactobacilli can be found in this site at and . The links below may be helpful as well.
Want to buy the best probiotics for you and your health? Then you should click here to download the Probiotics Buying Guide.