The Role of Lactobacilli and Probiotics in Maintaining Vaginal Health

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2014 Mar;289(3):479-89. doi: 10.1007/s00404-013-3064-9. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

Abstract

Background: The vaginal microbiota of healthy women consists typically of a diversity of anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms. Lactobacilli are the most prevalent and often numerically dominant microorganisms and are relevant as a barrier to infection. The capacity of lactobacilli to adhere and compete for adhesion sites in the vaginal epithelium and the capacity to produce antimicrobial compounds (hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid, bacteriocin-like substances), are important in the impairment of colonization by pathogens.

Objective: This review summarizes the role of lactic acid bacteria in preventing illness of the host, including bacterial vaginosis, yeast vaginitis, urinary tract infection and sexually transmitted diseases.

Conclusions: The administration of probiotics that colonize the vaginal tract can be important in maintaining a normal urogenital health and also to prevent or treat infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / microbiology
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Female Urogenital Diseases / microbiology*
  • Female Urogenital Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / physiology*
  • Probiotics / pharmacology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / microbiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Vagina / cytology
  • Vagina / microbiology*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / prevention & control
  • Women's Health*

Substances

  • Anti-Infective Agents