Yogurt for Recurrent Vaginitis and Vaginosis

Recurrent vaginitis has been linked to risk factors such as diabetes, oral contraceptives, and antibiotic use, but most women with recurrent candidal vaginitis have no discernible modifiable risk factors. In the case of bacterial vaginosis (BV), absence of lactobacilli is noteworthy. Daily oral yogurt containing lactobacillus acidophilus has been demonstrated to reduce candidal colonization and infection, but no pasteurized yogurt control has been examined.

This study examined 48 women with histories of at least four documented episodes of vaginal candidiasis or BV in the preceding 12 months. Study design included (Group 1): an initial two-month period of ingestion of 150 mL of yogurt containing L. acidophilus daily, followed by a two-month washout period, followed by a two-month period of ingestion of pasteurized yogurt (without lactobacillus acidophilus). The second group of patients followed the reverse protocol.

There was a progressive decline in vaginal cultures positive for Candida in both groups: from 60% at baseline, down to 28% at the conclusion of the trial. For bacterial vaginosis, episodes were significantly less frequent during ingestion of L. acidophilus.

The authors conclude that there is no clear advantage of one form of yogurt over another for candidal vaginitis, but that yogurt containing L. acidophilus shows advantage for reducing episodes for bacterial vaginitis.

Shalevf E, et al. Arch Fam Med 1996; 5:593-596.