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Probiotics and Urinary Tract Infections

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A small double-blind study of post-menopausal women with 3 urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the previous year found no statistical difference between 12 months of antibiotic or probiotic preventive treatment.   Both the probiotic group and the antibiotic group showed similar decreases in the number of UTI episodes.   In the antibiotic group however, antibiotic resistance of E. coli bacteria increased from 20-40% at the beginning of treatment to 80-95% after one month of treatment.  The group treated with probiotics showed no antibiotic resistance.

Lactobacilli and other probiotics are normal inhabitants of the vagina.  Probiotics may help prevent the development of UTIs by excluding pathogenic organisms and by producing compounds that inhibit their growth.  L. rhaminosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14, the two specific probiotic strains of Lactobacillus used in the study, appear to be more effective at colonizing the vaginal mucosa and inhibiting bacteria that cause UTIs.

Terry Pfau DO, HMD

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