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The use of 3 selected lactobacillary strains in vaginal probiotic gel for the treatment of acute Candida vaginitis: a proof-of-concept study


In vitro studies suggest that certain probiotic bacterial strains have potential activity against opportunistic infections such as Candida. There are few in vivo trials using probiotics as a single treatment for acute Candida vulvovaginitis (CV). In this open-label, proof-of-concept study, selected Lactobacillus strains were tested in women with acute Candida vaginitis. Twenty women diagnosed with proven, symptomatic CV were instructed to administer a vaginal probiotic gel with L. plantarum YUN-V2.0, L. pentosus YUN-V1.0 and L. rhamnosus YUN-S1.0 for 10 consecutive days. Vaginal rinsing fluid, vaginal culture swab and vaginal smear for fresh wet-mount microscopy were collected before and 7, 14 and 28 days after start of treatment. On average, participating women were 39 years old and had an history of 5 vaginal infections of which 95% was CV. Nine women (45%) completed the study without the need of rescue medication. Women who needed rescue treatment experienced twice as much Candida infections in the past. A negative correlation was found between the clinical composite score and the time to use rescue medication (R2 = 0.127). Seventy-four per cent of participants found the study gel comfortable to use, and 42% of all women would use the tested gel again for this indication. Forty-five per cent of women were treated successfully for acute CV with a novel vaginal gel containing 3 selected Lactobacillus strains. Patients needing rescue treatment were suffering from more severe and long-standing disease. These results warrant for further testing of this new product, especially of its potential in cases with mild to moderate severity, as an adjuvant to antimycotics or as a preventive measure in women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidosis.

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We thank all patients willing to participate in this study to try a product with little or no evidence in humans of its efficacy.


Yun NV funded the products and examination fee, Femicare VZW provided infrastructure and microscopy, and Antwerp University provided the microbioma testing. No authors received any funding.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gilbert Donders.

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Conflict of interest

Ingmar Claes is an employee of YUN NV, and other authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Central Ethical Committee of the University Hospital Antwerp and the local ethical committee (B300201628296 – 16/7/66).

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Informed consent is signed by all patients prior to inclusion.

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Donders, G., Bellen, G., Oerlemans, E. et al. The use of 3 selected lactobacillary strains in vaginal probiotic gel for the treatment of acute Candida vaginitis: a proof-of-concept study. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 39, 1551–1558 (2020).

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  • Fluconazole
  • Lactobacilli
  • Recurrent Candida vulvovaginitis
  • Prevention