The role of probiotics in women with recurrent urinary tract infections.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) still represent a significant bother for women and result in high costs to the health system. Increasing antimicrobial resistance has stimulated interest in non-antibiotic prophylaxis of recurrent UTIs. Evidence shows that the microorganisms inhabit many sites of the body, including the urinary tract which has long been assumed to be sterile in healthy individuals, might have a role in maintaining urinary health. Studies of the urinary microbiota (UM) have identified remarkable differences between healthy populations and those with urologic diseases. The depletion of these organisms in women susceptible to UTIs raised the question of whether artificial supplementation of these microorganisms as probiotics could lower infection rates. In the literature, probiotic interventions were shown to have some efficacy in the treatment and prevention of urogenital infections. Despite previous controversy regarding the use of probiotics, as treatment for UTIs, there are increasing signs that it may be possible to use them as a first step in regulating the UM so as to reduce the risk of or as a treatment for certain urinary diseases. However, further future clinical trials, involving large numbers of patients, will be mandatory to achieve definite evidence of the preventive and curative role of probiotics in UTIs. Details about correct formulations in terms of amount of bacteria, viability and associated growth factors, will be required in order to standardize the administration schedule and achieve homogeneous and comparable results on selected patients.