The development of probiotics for women's health

Can J Microbiol. 2017 Apr;63(4):269-277. doi: 10.1139/cjm-2016-0733. Epub 2016 Dec 20.


The idea you could use lactic acid bacteria to treat and prevent recurrence of vaginal infections was ridiculed in the early 1980s. Bacteria were the bad guys to be eradicated by current and emerging antibiotic classes. Thirty years later, probiotic administration of microbes is widespread worldwide, including for vaginal and bladder health in women, and the scientific basis and clinical efficacy data for this and multiple other applications prove the viability of this concept. The development of this approach, the creation of a definition for probiotics, and the expansion to other areas of women's health form the basis of this review.

Keywords: Lactobacillus; aliments fermentés; fermented food; probiotics; probiotiques; urinary tract; vaginal; voies urinaires.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Vagina / microbiology
  • Women's Health*