The preventive and therapeutic effects of probiotics on mastitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2022 Sep 9;17(9):e0274467. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0274467. eCollection 2022.


Acute mastitis is one of the main reasons why breastfeeding women stop breastfeeding, and medication should be used with caution. Considering the uncertainty of mastitis infection and the indications of antibiotic use, as well as the problem of drug resistance and the safety of medication during lactation, probiotics have become an alternative treatment choice. However, a meta-analysis of the effects of probiotics in preventing and treating lactational mastitis is still lacking. Therefore, we searched six electronic databases and the sites of clinical trial registration, a total of six randomized controlled trials were included in this meta-analysis, which showed that oral probiotics during pregnancy can reduce the incidence of mastitis (RR: 0.49, 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.69; p<0.0001). After oral administration of probiotics, the counts of bacteria in the milk of healthy people and mastitis patients were both significantly reduced (in healthy people: MD: -0.19, 95% CI: -0.23 to -0.16, p<0.00001; in mastitis patients: MD: -0.89, 95% CI: -1.34 to -0.43, p = 0.0001). These indicate that to a certain extent, probiotics are beneficial in reducing the incidence rate of mastitis during lactation and some related mastitis symptoms. However, high-quality multicenter clinical trials are still needed to support this result.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Feeding
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation
  • Mastitis* / etiology
  • Mastitis* / prevention & control
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Probiotics* / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents

Grants and funding

This research was supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China(No. 82074438), and the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (No. LY18H270006).