The role of diet and probiotics in prevention and treatment of bacterial vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis in adolescent girls and non-pregnant women.

Ginekologia polska. 2020;91(7):412-416

Other resources

Plain language summary

In adolescent girls and non-pregnant women, vaginitis, including fungal infections, is a common problem. Vaginitis clinically manifests as abnormal vaginal discharge, irritation, itching, burning and discomfort, and is especially prevalent with a decrease in immunity. The normal bacterial flora of the vagina and cervix protect against the development of pathogenic strains, while abnormal flora tend to be the most common starting point for the development of infections. The aim of this study was to determine the role of proper diet and probiotics and prebiotics use in relation to therapy and prophylaxis of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) and bacterial vaginosis (BV) in non-pregnant women and girls. This review shows that: - An unbalanced diet can be a risk factor for BV. Women tend to be more exposed to BV if they have poor micronutrient status, including vitamins A, E, D, C and beta carotene — indicating a lower fruit and vegetable intake. - Many studies proved that regulated use of probiotics, administered both orally and vaginally, are effective in the prevention and treatment of vaginal infections such as BV and VVC. - To create a positive environment for probiotics, it is important to provide prebiotics that support the development of probiotic strains. Authors conclude that gynaecologists, obstetricians, general practitioners and dieticians should share their findings, and raise awareness among the general population as to the importance of optimal nutrition. Probiotics and prebiotics could be considered to prevent infections of the genital tract, reduce associated disease, and maintain reproductive health.


The article raises important issues regarding the use of diet and probiotics in prevention and treatment of vaginitis. Vaginitis is defined as any condition with symptoms of abnormal vaginal discharge. The most common causes of vaginitis are vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis (BV). Vaginitis has been linked to itching, burning, pain, discharge, irritation and also adverse reproductive and obstetric health outcomes. Moreover, microorganisms that build vaginal flora in the state of bacterial vaginosis are a source of cervicitis and endometritis (often in subclinical forms) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) The proper diet and probiotics consumption may influence the composition of the gut microbiota, improve gut integrity, and have an impact on maintaining and recovering the normal vaginal microbiota. Future studies and reviews investigating the role of diet and probiotics in changes to gut and vaginal microbiome need to focus on deciphering the mechanismus of host bacteria interaction in vulvovaginal health.

Lifestyle medicine

Patient Centred Factors : Triggers/Diet and probiotics
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Nutrients ; Microorganisms
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition ; Environment
Functional Laboratory Testing : Not applicable

Methodological quality

Jadad score : Not applicable
Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article ; Review