The Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera are the most commonly studied probiotics. The probiotic Lactobacillus plays a beneficial role in human reproduction and in the healthy maintenance of the urinary tract and reproductive system. Lactobacilli are the predominant bacteria in the vaginal flora. They possess antimicrobial properties that regulate the presence of other urogenital microbiota. Daily oral intake of probiotics containing lactobacilli maintains a healthy vaginal microbial flora.
The genus Lactobacillus as a probiotic in women
Since 1928, when Stanley Thomas identified Lactobacillus acidophilus, 20 species of Lactobacillus that have recently been found in the genital tract have been identified by molecular techniques. The genus Lactobacillus includes 90 to 95% of the total bacterial population in the genital tract, with predominant species such as Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus iners, Lactobacillus jensenii, and Lactobacillus gasseri, etc. Jakobsson and Forsum obtained similar results in 2008 in characterizing changes in the genital microbiota during in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The proportion of the different species of the genus Lactobacillus differ between human races and their geographic locations. Likewise, nutrition can affect its diversity by being able to alter the gastrointestinal Lactobacillus species. Lactobacilli can play a key role in changing the balance of the environment in the reproductive system in favor of successful implantation and pregnancy.
Its possible mechanisms of action in the vagina include modulating the host’s immunity, and altering the micro-environment to be less receptive to pathogens (i.e. production of lactic acid, bacteriocins, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), etc.). Lactobacillus therefore causes a decrease in vaginal pH and provides an unfavorable habitat for pathogens, including bacterial vaginosis (BV). In addition, the live birth rate (LBR) has been directly correlated with the presence of H2O2-generating lactobacillus in the embryo transfer catheter and is inversely correlated with BV.
Supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to be effective in blocking bacterial growth and therefore in the treatment and prevention of (BV).
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is useful as an adjunct in the treatment of women with vulvo-vaginal VVC candidiasis and represents a safe and effective option for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in women.
The administration of Lactobacillus rhamnosus in pregnancy is effective in preventing the development of abnormal vaginal micro-flora, and the modification of cervical parameters that could represent risk factors for preterm birth.
The administration of Lactobacillus rhamnosus can promote beneficial effects and represents a true alternative for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory processes such as those that occur in premature labor.
Lactobacillus crispatus has a relevant presence in the composition of the vaginal microbiota of the pregnant woman and its presence provides a particular stability in her vaginal ecosystem.
The stable presence of Lactobacillus crispatus in the vagina of sexually active women improves the pregnancy success rate. The colonization of Lactobacillus crispatus at the time of IVF-ET increases the implantation rate and the live birth rate with a decrease in the colonization rate of pathogenic microorganisms.
Lactobacillus plantarum also has a significant quantitative presence in the vaginal microflora of women. Clinical studies have shown the efficacy of the presence of Lactobacillus plantarum in the prevention of vaginal infections.
It has also been shown that Lactobacillus plantarum reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases the presence of anti-inflammatory cytokines, correcting infertility induced by infectious processes.
Importance of probiotics during a pregnancy
The Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera are the most commonly studied probiotics. The probiotic Lactobacillus plays a beneficial role in human reproduction and in the healthy maintenance of the urinary tract and reproductive system.
Lactobacilli are the predominant bacteria in the vaginal flora, which have antimicrobial properties that regulate the presence of other urogenital microbiota, reducing the presentation of bacterial vaginosis also in pregnant women.
It has been verified that the use of probiotics during pregnancy is widely and widely accepted and it is also credited with excellent prophylactic potential.