Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are reportedly the most common bacterial infection and owing to the anatomical differences and shorter urethra, women are significantly more likely to experience UTI than men. Nearly 1 in 3 women would have had at least 1 episode of UTI requiring antimicrobial therapy by the age of 24 years and almost half of all women would have experienced 1 UTI during their lifetime. In women, UTIs recur affecting 2 to 3 percent of all women.
Depletion of lactobacilli, the normal microflora of vagina is one of the factors associated with UTI risk. To investigate the hypothesis that replenishing these microbial flora could be beneficial, a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted and the results are published in the recent issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. 100 young women with recurrent UTIs receiving antibiotic therapy for acute UTIs were randomised to receive either a Lactobacillus intra-vaginal probiotic called LACTIN-V or a placebo for 5 days, then once in 7 days for 10 weeks.
Of the study participations 50 received the probiotic and 50 were on placebo. 26% of women in the placebo arm had at least one UTI as against the probiotic arm, where only 7 (14%) women had UTI. The results thereby suggest that the use of probiotics could be beneficial and might reduce recurrent UTIs in women. Further clinical trials are needed to study the efficacy of these probiotics which would be a welcome change as against the use of antibiotic therapy with the risks of developing drug resistance and side effects.
Reference : A. E. Stapleton, M. Au-Yeung, T. M. Hooton, D. N. Fredricks, P. L. Roberts, C. A. Czaja, Y. Yarova-Yarovaya, T. Fiedler, M. Cox, W. E. Stamm. Randomized, Placebo-controlled Phase 2 Trial of a Lactobacillus crispatus Probiotic Given Intravaginally for Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2011