We investigated the effects of glycerol monolaurate (GML) on Lactobacillus, Candida, and Gardnerella vaginalis human vaginal microflora. Our previous work demonstrated that 6 months of GML treatment vaginally does not alter lactobacillus counts in monkeys. Candida and G. vaginalis are commonly associated with vaginal infections in women, many becoming chronic or recurrent. In vitro growth inhibition studies determined the effects of GML (0 to 500 microg/ml) against multiple Candida species and G. vaginalis. A randomized, double-blind study investigated the effects of GML on vaginal microflora Lactobacillus, Candida, and G. vaginalis in colonized or infected women (n=36). Women self-administered intravaginal gels containing 0% (n=14), 0.5% (n=13), or 5% (n=9) GML every 12 h for 2 days. Vaginal swabs were collected before and immediately after the first gel administration and 12 h after the final gel administration. Swabs were tested for Lactobacillus, Candida, G. vaginalis, and GML. In vitro GML concentrations of 500 microg/ml were candicidal for all species tested, while a concentration of 10 microg/ml was bactericidal for G. vaginalis. Control and GML gels applied vaginally in women did not alter vaginal pH or Lactobacillus counts. Control gels reduced G. vaginalis counts but not Candida counts, whereas GML gels reduced both Candida and G. vaginalis. No adverse events were reported by participating women. GML is antimicrobial for Candida and G. vaginalis in vitro. Vaginal GML gels in women do not affect Lactobacillus negatively but significantly reduce Candida and G. vaginalis.