A new study suggests EcoVag probiotic capsules may be effective at defending against certain recurrent vaginal infections.
EcoVag, a probiotic designed for vaginal health, has shown promise in previous research at protecting against bacterial vaginosis (BV) infections, but a new pilot study suggests it may also reduce the risk of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) infections.
Writing in BMC Infectious Diseases, researchers reported that combining EcoVag capsule supplementation with antibiotics or anti-fungal medication was shown to provide long-term relief from BV and VVC in women suffering from these infections. The findings come as the result of a pilot, open label clinical trial conducted in Sweden.
The EcoVag capsules used in the study contained strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus gasseri. According to EcoVag supplier Bifodan A/S (Copenhagen), this is the first research to indicate EcoVag’s potential benefits on VVC.
“While the positive influence of EcoVag in reducing the risk of recurrent BV has been proven in other clinical trials, this new publication marks the first time that a similar positive relationship is established for preventing recurrent VVC,” says Niels Peter Back, EcoVag business unit manager. “This is very encouraging and suggests that EvoVag has a broader application and also should be recommended for use in combination with treatment with antifungals to reduce the risk of recurrent yeast infections.”
The study sample included 30 women aged 22-43 with a median age of 32. All subjects reported suffering from BV or VVC and were divided into three different experimental groups.
In group 1, 11 women with BV received antibiotic clindamycin for 7 days, followed by 10-day course of EcoVag vaginal capsules. After the first menstruation, participants received a 5 days course of metronidazole gel and 5 more days of EcoVag. Participants in group 1 also received EcoVag capsules to take after the second menstruation once per week for 4 months.
Group 2 included 9 women with VVC who received 28 days of fluconazole anti-fungal medication as well as vaginal EcoVag capsules from days 18-28. After the first menstruation, participants were given EcoVag capsules to take for 10 days along with a weekly course of fluconazole. EcoVag capsules were given once per week for 4 months following the second menstruation, as well as 200 mg of fluconazole every two weeks for the next three months.
In group 3, 10 women with VVC received a similar anti-fungal treatment as group 2, but without the EcoVag capsules.
Researchers found that the 6- and 12- month cure rates of BV was 67% for women in group 1, which represented a slight but not significant increase in cure rates compared to a less frequent dosage of EcoVag in a previous study.
With respect to VVC, researchers found that cure rates for VVC were 100% at 6 months and 89% at 12 months in group 2 (fluconazole with EcoVag), versus 100% at 6 months and 70% at 12 months in group 3 (fluconazole alone). Although the 12-month difference is not significant, researchers suggested that “the EcoVag strains could slightly improve the treatment efficacy by directly inhibiting yeast growth or adherence or by supporting colonization by pre-existing lactobacilli.”
Researchers concluded that the pilot study suggests potential for the combination of EcoVag with antibiotics or anti-fungal medication to provide long-term defense against BV and VVC, but that further studies with larger cohorts “will have to be performed to confirm the relationship between colonization by EcoVag Lactobacillus strains and cure of BV and VVC.”
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Pendharkar S et al., “Vaginal colonisation by probiotic lactobacilli and clinical outcome in women conventionally treated for bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection,” BMC Infectious Diseases, vol. 15, no. 255 (2015): doi: 10.1186/s12879-015-0971-3