Study Examines New Treatment for Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in women, costing an estimated $2.5 billion per year to treat in 2000 in the United States alone. These infections frequently recur, affecting 2 percent to 3 percent of all women. A depletion of vaginal lactobacilli, a type of bacteria, is associated with urinary tract infection risk, which suggests that replenishing these bacteria may be beneficial. Researchers conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled trial to investigate this theory. Their results are published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and now available online.

In the study, young women with a history of recurrent urinary tract infections received antibiotics for acute urinary tract infections. They were then randomized to receive either a Lactobacillus crispatus intravaginal suppository probiotic, called LACTIN-V, or a placebo for five days, then once a week for 10 weeks.

The results suggest that the probiotic may reduce the rate of recurrent urinary tract infections in women prone to these infections. Of the 100 women who participated in the study, 50 received LACTIN-V, and 50 received the placebo. Seven of the women who received LACTIN-V had at least one urinary tract infection, compared to 13 in the placebo group.

According to study author Ann Stapleton, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, Larger efficacy trials of this novel preventive method for recurrent urinary tract infections are warranted to determine if use of vaginal Lactobacillus could replace long-term antimicrobial preventive treatments.

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