South Korean researchers recently reported in the scientific journal “Nutrients’ that asymptomatic women who orally consume Lactobacillus probiotics which are used in vaginal probiotics can reduce their risk of vaginal dysbiosis.
A healthy vagina depends on good bacteria from the Lactobacillus species to prevent dangerous pathogenic microbes and sexually transmitted infections from entering the vagina. Evidence shows that Lactobacillus probiotics can reduce the risk of obtaining bacterial vaginosis and other gynecological infections.
How Does Lactobacillus Help With Vaginal Health?
The Lactobacillus species generates lactic acid to lower and balance vaginal pH levels, critical for preventing vaginal infections. Furthermore, the Lactobacillus species also contains antimicrobial, immunomodulatory, and antiviral properties that help protect vaginal health significantly.
The four Lactobacillus species most common in the vagina are L. jensenii, L. iners, L. crispatus, and L. gasseri. If you have high numbers of these good bacteria in your vagina, you will significantly decrease the risk of vaginal dysbiosis and other infections.
On the other hand, if you have fewer Lactobacillus bacteria and more anaerobic bacteria, you will have a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections and bacterial vaginosis. Some examples of anaerobic bacteria include Papillibacter, Aerococcus, Megasphaera, and Prevotella.
Therefore, to decrease your risk of developing vaginal conditions like dysbiosis, you should ask your doctor for oral probiotics from the Lactobacillus species.
An Overview of the Study
The researchers overseeing the study screened participants to see if they had asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis. The common symptoms associated with bacterial vaginosis are as follows:
- Foul Odor
- Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
- Unusual Vaginal Pain
Fortunately, nearly 50% of women with bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms, which means they are asymptomatic.
The researchers used the Nugent scoring system to diagnose asymptomatic women with bacterial vaginosis. This system looks for signs of Lactobacillus and Gardnerella species to determine if a woman has bacterial vaginosis.
Doctors can confirm the diagnosis through molecular study methods if the Nugent score leans more toward the likelihood of bacterial vaginosis. For instance, a polymerase chain reaction and 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) amplicon sequencing are two molecular methods for confirming the diagnosis. At this point, doctors can recommend the best treatment options to reduce or eliminate bacterial vaginosis in the patient.
Researchers categorized the participants of the study according to their Nugent scores. After that, they used cervicovaginal fluid samples to perform next-generation sequencing (NGS) of the 16S rRNA gene and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) to confirm the existence of the vaginal microbes in asymptomatic women with vaginal dysbiosis.
*Please note the study was not performed on women who were pregnant, actively consuming probiotics or antibiotics, undergoing immune therapy or hormone therapy, or who had alcohol or drug addiction problems in the past.
The probiotic treatment consists of three strains from the Lactobacillus species: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus reuteri. There are high quality formulas that include these probiotics for vaginal health such as Pro-Fem.
The medical researchers collected cervicovaginal fluid samples from the participants before administering the Lactobacillus probiotics. Then, the researchers administered the Lactobacillus probiotics twice, once every three weeks. Each time the treatment was issued, the researchers would take more cervicovaginal fluid samples from the participants.
The study results indicated that nearly 60% of the female participants who initially had a high Nugent score had seen positive results and reduced Nugent scores after the double three-week treatment intervals.
Therefore, going from a high Nugent score to a low Nugent score after consuming the Lactobacillus probiotics had a profound effect in treating vaginal dysbiosis in asymptomatic women.