, Volume 289, Issue 3, pp 479-489
Date: 30 Oct 2013

The role of lactobacilli and probiotics in maintaining vaginal health

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Abstract

Background

The vaginal microbiota of healthy women consists typically of a diversity of anaerobic and aerobic microorganisms. Lactobacilli are the most prevalent and often numerically dominant microorganisms and are relevant as a barrier to infection. The capacity of lactobacilli to adhere and compete for adhesion sites in the vaginal epithelium and the capacity to produce antimicrobial compounds (hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid, bacteriocin-like substances), are important in the impairment of colonization by pathogens.

Objective

This review summarizes the role of lactic acid bacteria in preventing illness of the host, including bacterial vaginosis, yeast vaginitis, urinary tract infection and sexually transmitted diseases.

Conclusions

The administration of probiotics that colonize the vaginal tract can be important in maintaining a normal urogenital health and also to prevent or treat infections.