Aims: To determine the ability of probiotic lactobacilli to improve the treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) using a randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial.
Methods and results: Fifty-five women diagnosed with VVC by vaginal discharge positive for Candida spp. (according to culture method) associated with at least one of the symptoms (itching and burning vaginal feeling, dyspareunia and dysuria), were treated with single dose of fluconazole (150 mg) supplemented every morning for the following 4 weeks with two placebo or two probiotic capsules (containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14). At 4 weeks, the probiotic treated group showed significantly less vaginal discharge associated with any of the above mentioned symptoms (10.3%vs 34.6%; P = 0.03) and lower presence of yeast detected by culture (10.3%vs 38.5%; P = 0.014).
Conclusion: This study has shown that probiotic lactobacilli can increase the effectiveness of an anti-fungal pharmaceutical agent in curing disease.
Significance and impact of the study: This novel finding of probiotic lactobacilli augmenting the cure rate of yeast vaginitis, not only offers an alternative approach to a highly prevalent condition that adversely affects the quality of life of women around the world, but also raises the question of how this combination works.