The study – published in the Archives of Internal Medicine – compared the effectiveness of the firms Urex strains (GR-1 and RC-14) with antibiotics for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) in 252 postmenopausal women.
The 12-month study, led by Suzanne Geerlings reveals that whilst the Chr Hansen probiotic is not as effective as antibiotics for UTI prevention but do have benefits over the use of antibiotics in that they do not increase antibiotic resistance.
Geerlings and her team said although the probiotics were 13.8% less effective than antibiotics, the friendly bacteria still more than halved the number of self-reported UTIs.
“Taking into account that probiotics are natural microorganisms that do not cause antibiotic resistance, this outcome is very encouraging,” said Geerlings. “It is good news for women who have untreatable UTI due to antibiotics resistance as well as women who simply prefer an alternative to antibiotics,” she added.
UTIs are one of the most common bacterial infections in women, with more than half of all women experiencing at least one UTI during their lifetime.
Recurrence is defined as two or more UTIs in six months, or three or more within the preceding 12 months, and occurs in 27% of otherwise healthy women.
“It is very common that women suffering from UTI get it over and over again,” said Birgit Michelsen, director of scientific affairs, health & nutrition for Chr Hansen. “This is why it is so important that they can decrease their intake of antibiotics - in order not to develop resistance.”
“A number of scientific experts have highlighted the importance of reducing the use of antibiotic in the prevention of recurrent UTIs but so far the evidence of probiotics to prevent UTI has been too weak to be included in medical guidelines.
“This study further supports the use of Urex in the struggle against recurrent UTIs,” she suggests.
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine
Volume 172, Issue 9, Pages 704-712, doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2012.777
“Lactobacilli vs Antibiotics to Prevent Urinary Tract InfectionsA Randomized, Double-blind, Noninferiority Trial in Postmenopausal Women”
Authors: M.A.J. Beerepoot, G. Riet, S. Nys, W.M. van der Wal, et al