The role of probiotics as adjunct treatment in the prevention and management of gynecological infections: An updated meta-analysis of 35 RCT studies

Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2024 May;63(3):357-368. doi: 10.1016/j.tjog.2024.03.004.


Objective: The present study aims to conduct a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the efficacy of probiotics as an adjunct treatment for preventing and treating gynecological infections.

Materials and methods: The study adopted a systematic review of scientific databases including PubMed, Cochrane, and EMBASE, using defined MeSH terms. The inclusion and exclusion criteria were set to refine the search, with the data extraction and quality assessment being conducted by two independent investigators.

Results: A total of 35 articles, comprising 3751 patients, were included in the meta-analysis. The application of probiotics demonstrated a notable increase in the cure rates of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) as compared to control groups. A significant BV cure rate (OR: 5.972; 95% CI: 2.62-13.59; p-value: 0.01) was noted with probiotic use, which was even more pronounced when used as an adjunctive treatment with antibiotics (OR: 2.504; 95% CI: 1.03-6.06; p-value: 0.04). Additionally, probiotic use significantly reduced the recurrence rates of BV (OR: 0.34; 95% CI: 0.167-0.71; p-value: 0.004). For VVC, a significant increase in the cure rate was observed in the probiotic group (OR: 3.425; 95% CI: 2.404-4.879; p-value: 0.01), along with a lower recurrence rate (OR: 0.325; 95% CI: 0.175-0.606; p-value: 0.01).

Conclusion: Our findings underscore the potential role of probiotics as a beneficial adjunctive treatment for gynecological infections, indicating an improved cure rate and decreased recurrence. However, additional well-designed studies are necessary to corroborate these findings.

Keywords: Bacterial vaginosis; Probiotics; Randomized controlled trials; Vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal* / prevention & control
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal* / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Probiotics* / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial* / drug therapy
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial* / therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents