A new research review reveals that using probiotics in combination with antibiotic therapy may be the key to treating bacterial vaginosis (a common condition marked by an imbalance between beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria in the vagina).
For the review, scientists sized up 24 studies involving a total of 4,422 women. While the antibiotics clindamycin and metronidazole both cured bacterial vaginosis within two to three weeks in more than 90 percent of cases, there was a high rate of relapse associated with antibiotic use. What's more, metronidazole produced side effects such as nausea and a metallic taste in the mouth. However, taking supplements of the probiotic lactobacillus alongside metronidazole appeared to increase the treatment's effectiveness.
Beneficial bacteria that are naturally present in the vagina and digestive tract, probiotics may help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria (as well as improve immune function). In previous research, taking probiotic supplements has been shown to help decrease the side effects associated with use of antibiotics.