FRIDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Many women suffer from chronic urinary tract infections, but now a new treatment using a probiotic may provide lasting relief for some, a preliminary trial indicates.
Urinary tract infections frequently recur and affect 2 percent to 3 percent of all women. The depletion of vaginal Lactobacillus crispatus, a type of bacteria, is linked with these painful infections, suggesting that replenishing the bacteria may be helpful.
"The problem with urinary tract infection we are facing is antibiotic resistance," said researcher Dr. Thomas M. Hooton, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "So there is a push to develop non-antibiotic methods to prevent and treat infections," he added.
Women who have recurring urinary tract infection have alterations in their vaginal bacteria. "There tends to be a reduction in Lactobacillus crispatus. That's the predominant organism in the healthy vagina," Hooton explained.
It has been suggested that lack of L. crispatus is a risk factor for urinary tract infection, because it allows harmful bacteria to grow, he added.
"So if you could replace the Lactobacillus in women with recurrent urinary tract infections, you might normalize the vagina and prevent infections," Hooton said. "That's the theory of using a probiotic -- that you are trying to normalize, or at least change, the vaginal fauna."
And that's exactly what this new treatment does, he noted.
The report is published in the April 15 online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.
For the phase 2 trial, researchers treated 100 women with recurrent urinary tract infections with antibiotics and then randomly assigned them to a L. crispatus vaginal suppository probiotic, or an inactive placebo.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that wh
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