Is Inserting Probiotics effective against Bacterial Vaginosis?

Spread the Probiotic love

Female health is often a very private concern, and it is common to remain silent when you feel discomfort in your intimate parts. However, it is no secret that women deal with this type of problems, and that’s why they are encouraged to visit the gynecologist regularly, especially when they have an active sexual life.

Sometimes going to a doctor or specialist is not easy because we are dealing with issues that are not easy to explain, and we don’t want anyone to see our privates. Thus, we restrain ourselves, especially when very strong smells disarm our immediate will to share our concerns. That is very common in bacterial vaginosis and a reason why many women do not go immediately to the doctor.

What is bacterial vaginosis?

Bacterial vaginosis is a dysregulation of the healthy flora in the vaginal mucosa that results in colonization by other bacteria such as Gardnerella vaginalis. This is similar but not identical to lacking good bacteria in the stomach. In other words, similar to what happens in the gut after antibiotic therapy, vaginal mucosa has its own microbiota, and harmful bacteria start to create problems when the tissue has low levels of healthy bacteria.

Vaginal odors are the most well-known symptoms of bacterial vaginosis. This is usually perceived after sexual intercourse, and patients typically complain about a greyish vaginal discharge with a foul smell.

It is widespread in adult women, specifically in 15 to 44-year-old sexually active women. Even though it is not a severe problem, bacterial vaginosis is an alteration of the vaginal microbiota, and it opens the door to other diseases such as cervicitis, papillomavirus, and even cervical cancer.

Since bacterial vaginosis is an alteration in vaginal microbiota that closely resembles the physiopathology of gut microbiota dysregulations, researchers have considered probiotics as an exciting approach to treating this disease.

The science of probiotics and immunity

Probiotics and prebiotics are causing an evolutionary impact on healthy foods nowadays. Probiotics directly provide bacterial strains, while prebiotic ingredients stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria. But, can probiotics fight off infectious disease? Let’s take bacterial vaginosis as an example.

Lactobacilli are the most common probiotics. Given bacterial vaginosis features a reduced number of lactobacilli in the vaginal microbiota, clinical trials have tested probiotics with lactobacilli administered in oral solutions and suppositories to evaluate the effectiveness in reducing the symptoms by the colonization of healthy bacteria. This revolutionary approach would provide a cure for this disease, or at least reducing its symptoms, without the need for antibiotics.

Latest Bacterial Vaginosis Research

with thanks www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Replacing depleted lactobacilli with probiotic strains has a significant impact in bacterial vaginosis, and there is substantial evidence that probiotics with or without antibiotics may improve the foul smell, the vaginal discharge, and the risk of comorbidities associated with colonization by Gardnerella vaginalis.

However, this type of treatment is not installed as a treatment in every case because there is insufficient information to recommend them systematically in each and every woman out there. For that purpose, and to shield their back against unexpected side effects, it will be necessary to perform large and well-designed controlled trials to make sure this type of treatment is both safe and effective for bacterial vaginosis.

Effective natural treatments for bacterial vaginosis

As we have reviewed, it is possible to cure bacterial vaginosis with other means different than antibiotics, and this alternative treatment has significant benefits given the rising antibiotic resistance in our population and the misuse of antibiotics by the general population and some health professionals.

However, probiotics are not the only natural option to treat bacterial vaginosis. There are certain herbal treatments, essential oils, and natural ingredients with proven benefits to reduce the symptoms and sometimes reverse the colonization of Gardnerella vaginalis and bring back the normal pH and microbiota to the vaginal mucosa.

We should always look for a treatment to this condition, especially after understanding that bacterial vaginosis might be responsible for other serious problems such as higher susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases and increased risk in a pregnant woman to go through a premature birth.

Even though sometimes bacterial vaginosis goes away on its own, it is better to go through medical treatment, and you might also want to try the following natural remedies:

  • Calendula: Known as calendula officinalis or calendula arvensis, this herb has antibiotic properties, and it is useful to prevent the development of a plethora of diseases and infections. Along with aloe vera and burdock, calendula is one of the most suitable plants to relieve dermatological conditions. Its biochemical components have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifungal property, and studies have compared its use with metronidazole vaginal creams showing that it has a significant effect in reducing the symptoms associated with bacterial vaginosis and is an effective treatment against this intimate condition.
  • Tea tree: Also known as Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree belongs to the Myrtaceae family, and is native to Australia. Tea tree oil is extracted from its leaves and used to make skin care products given its antiseptic, antimicrobial, disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties. The essential oil has found to have components such as terpinen-4-ol (minimum 30%), γ-terpinene (10-28%), and 1,8-cineol (less than 15%). Studying the antimicrobial effects of tea tree essential oil over lactobacilli and G. vaginalis, studies have shown that tea tree oil selectively inhibits the organisms responsible for the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis while leaving lactobacilli growing and colonizing the vaginal mucosa.

Thus, many different treatments and approaches may be able to help you recover from bacterial vaginosis. This is not a sign of embarrassment, and it is not considered a sexually transmitted disease by most authors and medical schools. Thus, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and you can view this feminine inconvenience as a wake-up call to avoid something even worse. So, consult with your doctor and do not neglect this condition, even if symptoms appear to come and go. Solving your problem right away is a way to close the door to truly fearful conditions you don’t need around.

References:

Dover, S. E., Aroutcheva, A. A., Faro, S., & Chikindas, M. L. (2008). Natural antimicrobials and their role in vaginal health: a short review. International journal of probiotics & prebiotics3(4), 219.

Delia, A., Morgante, G., Rago, G., Musacchio, M. C., Petraglia, F., & De, V. L. (2006). Effectiveness of oral administration of Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei F19 in association with vaginal suppositories of Lactobacillus acidofilus in the treatment of vaginosis and in the prevention of recurrent vaginitis. Minerva ginecologica58(3), 227-231.

Blackwell, A. L. (1991). Tea tree oil and anaerobic (bacterial) vaginosis. The Lancet337(8736), 300.

Pazhohideh, Z., Mohammadi, S., Bahrami, N., Mojab, F., Abedi, P., & Maraghi, E. (2018). The effect of Calendula officinalis versus metronidazole on bacterial vaginosis in women: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research9(1), 15.

Klaenhammer, T. R., Kleerebezem, M., Kopp, M. V., & Rescigno, M. (2012). The impact of probiotics and prebiotics on the immune system. Nature Reviews Immunology12(10), 728.

Falagas, M. E., Betsi, G. I., & Athanasiou, S. (2007). Probiotics for the treatment of women with bacterial vaginosis. Clinical microbiology and infection13(7), 657-664.

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