Probiotics may help prevent recurring urinary tract infections (UTI) in women, according to a new review of research.
One of the most common bacterial infections in women, UTIs send women to the doctor 6 million times a year, according to the study, which appeared in the journal Urologic Nursing and was noted on Medscape.com. And, 20-30 percent of women who develop UTIs will have a reoccurrence. “Increasing antibiotic resistance and increasing resistance to commonly used antibiotics makes treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections difficult,” write the authors, who looked into research supporting probiotics as an alternative.
After scouring online databases for studies published in the past five years, the authors targeted three for review. The review revealed that Lactobacillus probiotics, taken either orally or vaginally, are likely effective in reducing recurrent UTIs in women. Lactobacilli may be especially useful for women with a history of recurrent UTIs, or prolonged antibiotic use. Although the probiotics weren’t quite as effective as antibiotics in reducing recurrent UTIs in the dosages studied, they don’t cause antibiotic resistance and may offer health benefits. The authors recommend larger, longer randomized, double-blind trials to strengthen the recommendation of the use of probiotics against recurrent infections.
The research adds to the body of evidence supporting probiotics as helpful to systems beyond the gut. One recent study suggests that after just a month of supplementation, they can boost your mood an prevent you from dwelling on negative past experiences. More and more companies are offering probiotics targeted specifically to women.