Up to a third of women have recurrent urinary tract infections which is defined as having at least two UTIs in a year. For these women, the concern for taking several rounds of antibiotics is clear. Antibiotics have side effects which aren’t always evident the first time ingested. Antibiotic resistance is a known problem which can make treating simple infections more complicated. It’s been thought that women with recurrent UTIs have a low level of a bacteria Lactobacillus crispatus in their vagina and this allows other harmful bacteria to overgrow leading to a UTI. An article in Health.com describes a novel approach towards treating these women.
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.
About 100 women with recurrent UTIs were given antibiotics and then randomized to get either a placebo or a vaginal suppository that contained a probiotic. The probiotic would essentially replace the deficient Lactobacillus. The probiotic group of women only had 7 UTIs at followup while the antibiotic group had 13 UTIs. Not conclusive but promising.