Biotherapeutic agents and vaginal health

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Abstract

Summary

Treatment of vaginal infection requires different drugs although the recurrence rate post treatment remains high due to adverse effects on the beneficial microbiota. Thus, there are clear clinical advantages for the use of biotherapeutic agents (prebiotics and/or probiotics) for treating these infections. Pre- and probiotic beneficial effects can be delivered topically or systemically. In general, both approaches have the potential to optimize, maintain and restore the ecology of the vaginal ecosystem. Specific carbohydrates provide a therapeutic approach for controlling infections by stimulating the growth of the indigenous lactobacilli but inhibiting the growth and adhesion of pathogens to the vaginal epithelial cells. Overall, little evidence exists to promote the prevention or treatment of vaginal disease with prebiotic carbohydrates in formulations such as pessaries, creams or douches. However, recent reports have promoted prebiotic applications in ecosystems other than the gut and include the mouth, skin and vagina. This review focuses on the utilization of pre- and probiotics for vaginal health.

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