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Probiotic Vaginal Suppositories

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Friendly bacteria play a large role in the health of both intestines and vagina. The urinary tract is also affected by the types of bacteria in these two areas, because unfriendly bacteria can migrate to the urethra and cause urinary tract infections.

Probiotic products provide a dose of good bacteria that normally live in healthy individuals. Oral probiotics can easily reach the intestines, but what about the vagina?

In healthy women, Lactobacillus bacteria dominate the vaginal flora. There are many different species, and multiple strains of each one. A group in Spain found that the common species L. crispatus, L. jensenii, and L. gasseri all have potential for probiotic development. Lactobacillus crispatus vaginal suppositories have been tested in clinical trials, and were both safe and effective at preventing recurring urinary tract infections.

My last Pap smear report included the comment, “Bacteria (coccobacilli) present morphologically consistent with shift in vaginal flora, i.e., bacterial vaginosis.” At the time, I had no symptoms, so my doctor did not recommend treatment. But since then I've had some mild burning sensations, not enough to send me back to the doctor's office, but enough to raise my interest in probiotics for the vagina.

I found one brand, Candaclear™, on the Internet. The web sites warn that this product is heat sensitive, and special shipping arrangements have to be made for delivery in hot weather. So I found a local specialty pharmacy that carries it.

The labeling is a bit cryptic. The ingredients are listed in a box that looks like a dietary product label. The directions say, “Administer one lozenge per day.” Each lozenge contains two strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus plus 2.1 milligrams of garlic concentrate and 0.1 milligram of oil of rose absolute. I assume this qualifies Candaclear™ for marketing as a dietary supplement. Lactobacillus acidophilus is the same bacteria found in yogurt. But the package does include a handy tool, which is easy to figure out by any woman who has ever used a tampon.

I tried this product and it worked for me, even though it was not exactly the same as the Lactobacillus crispatus strain that was successful in the clinical trials. I'm eagerly awaiting the development of other vaginal probiotics.

by Linda Fugate, Ph.D.

1. Uehara S, Monden K, Nomoto K, Seno Y, Kariyama R, Kumon H. “A pilot study evaluating the safety and effectiveness of Lactobacillus vaginal suppositories in patients with recurrent urinary tract infection”, Int J Antimicrob Agents 2006 Aug;28 Suppl 1:S30-4.

2. Czaja CA, Stapleton AE, Yarova-Yarovaya Y, Stamm WE. “Phase I trial of a Lactobacillus crispatus vaginal suppository for prevention of recurrent urinary tract infection in women”, Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2007;2007:35387.

3. Martin R, Soberon N, Vaneechoutte M, Florez AB, Vazquez F, Suarez JE. “Characterization of indigenous vaginal lactobacilli from healthy women as probiotic candidates”, Int Microbiol. 2008 Dec;11(4):261-6.

Add a Comment18 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Hi There,
Does anyone know if/where it is possible to get Ecovag Probiotic vaginal suppositories in the US? I have only been able to find it online in a couple of Australian pharmacies and I don't know if they will ship here. Isn't it available in Canada?


May 7, 2010 - 4:43pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon - Yes, garlic can be used to treat bacterial vaginosis, but the odor can make this option less appealing. Here's an article with a good description of how to use garlic for this purpose: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/25580

Is this something you've tried? Is so, can you let us know how it worked for you?
Thanks, Pat

April 8, 2010 - 6:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

i thought garlic was suppose to be a good remedy for bacterial vaginosis????

April 6, 2010 - 11:37pm

I have also found a probiotic skin lotion that I'm trying for the red spots I get from shaving my legs. Has anyone tried any other probiotic products?

September 21, 2009 - 4:35pm

I think you have hit on the problem of taking things meant to be taken by mouth that women insert vaginally. This link talks about Fem-D and pros and cons of using it vaginally. One women also mention the study you cited on testing Lactobacillus crispatus.

Overall, women need to be careful that they don't make their symptoms worse by inserting various treatments ie garlic, tea tree oil, peroxide douches that are suggested at various website for treatment of BV or yeast.

August 12, 2009 - 3:08pm

Thank you for this information! Here's a link to a site that claims any probiotic capsule can be used as a vaginal suppository. The main caution is that some capsules contain fructo-oligosaccharides, or other "prebiotics" that are added to feed the bacteria. These ingredients may also feed Candida ("yeast") infections in the vagina. You may want to ask your doctor about these options, and always check the label carefully to see what you're getting.

August 12, 2009 - 10:43am

Femdophilus is a oral brand of probiotics taken orally that from over 10 years of clinical trial has been created to contain the strains of Lactobacillus, Lactobacilli: GR-1® and RC-14, found in the vagina by Dr. Gregory Reid. http://www.jarrow.com/product/391/Fem_Dophilus

I believe a few other companies make probiotics with these strains for the same purpose.
The way oral probiotics make their way to the vagina is by the fact that the vaginal opening is close to the anus. The good bacteria make their way over due to the close contact and underwear contact.

Studies do show putting lactobacillus vaginally is supposed to help with BV however not all strains of lactobacillus produce hydrogen peroxide which is how lactobacillus keeps the balance of the good and bad organisms in the vagina in check. Regular yogurt does have lactobacillus but they may not be the proper strains so though many women try yogurt vaginally, it may not be the best idea.

August 12, 2009 - 8:58am
(reply to Michele Blacksberg RN)

Hi Michele
In Europe we are used to vaginal probiotic treatment. The problem with above mentioned product Femdophilus is that it is a 2 month treatment. Take a look at Ecovag homepage: www.ecovag.com which is 1 week treament with a vaginal inserted capsule that dissolves at night time. Feedback is very good. Strains were originally isolated from healthy Norwegian women so in this way you help Nature do its job. Strains used produce hydrogenperoxide which you correctly point out is important. Unfortunately, strains in Femdophilus do not produce hydrogenperoxide.
Rgds from Europe

April 15, 2010 - 3:37pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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