Lactobacilli in the female genital tract in relation to other genital microbes and vaginal pH

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(6):726-35. doi: 10.1080/00016340600578357.


Background: The relationship between lactobacilli and other microbes and the association with vaginal pH in the female genital tract were examined. The study also included evaluation of the possibility of supplying probiotics to the genital tract by using panty liners impregnated with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum LB931.

Methods: This was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter study involving 191 healthy fertile women. Specified microbes were counted and vaginal pH was measured once a month for five consecutive months.

Results: Major individual variations in the genital microflora composition and the vaginal pH were found among the women. The number of lactobacilli was significantly related to vaginal pH (p<0.001) and approximately 70% of the women were permanent carriers of individual lactobacilli strains. Women with high numbers of lactobacilli were less prevalent with Group B streptococci than women with low numbers (p=0.036), and these women had a lower mean vaginal pH. The number of lactobacilli also correlated with the prevalence of yeast. LB931 could be found in 86% of the labial samples and 54% of the vaginal samples.

Conclusions: High numbers of lactobacilli may contribute to a low vaginal pH and seem to have a negative influence on Group B streptococci. LB931 could be transferred from the panty liners to both the vagina and the labial fold.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorbent Pads / microbiology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Female
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification*
  • Lactobacillus plantarum* / genetics
  • Lactobacillus plantarum* / isolation & purification
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification
  • Vagina / chemistry
  • Vagina / microbiology*
  • Vulva / microbiology*
  • Yeasts / isolation & purification