Chapter 21 : Probiotics and Diseases of the Genitourinary Tract

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Numerous diseases occur in the genitourinary tract of men, women, and children. These disorders cover the gamut of infection, incontinence, cancer, inflammatory problems, and anatomical malfunctions in the urethra, bladder, kidney, prostate, vulva, vagina, cervix, and uterus. The potential for probiotics to counter these ailments is not restricted to infection, but it is in this area that most of the research to date has been done. This chapter begins with conditions under which there is somewhat of a rationale for probiotics to affect the urogenital tract, but for which actual data are sparse. The main goal of probiotics applications is to prevent genitourinary tract infections by populating the vagina with lactobacilli after antifungal agents have reduced the yeast count. Probiotics repopulate the genitourinary tract, compete with other bacteria, and are flushed from the host, necessitating regular, repeated administration. A study was performed to examine the ability of probiotics to prevent bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast vaginitis in patients receiving antibiotic therapy. Widespread and growing interest in the use of probiotics for urogenital health has served as an impetus for numerous research studies.

Citation: Reid G. 2008. Probiotics and Diseases of the Genitourinary Tract, p 271-284. In Versalovic J, Wilson M (ed), Therapeutic Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815462.ch21

Key Concept Ranking

Microbial Ecology
Bacterial Pathogenesis
Lactic Acid Bacteria
Urinary Tract Infections
Tumor Necrosis Factor
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Figure 1

This diagram illustrates that ingestion of probiotic organisms has the potential to affect other parts of the host, either through direct passage to the genitourinary tract or through indirect effects on the host.

Citation: Reid G. 2008. Probiotics and Diseases of the Genitourinary Tract, p 271-284. In Versalovic J, Wilson M (ed), Therapeutic Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815462.ch21
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Table 1

Diseases of the urogenital tract for which there is a rationale for probiotics or evidence that probiotics are effective

Citation: Reid G. 2008. Probiotics and Diseases of the Genitourinary Tract, p 271-284. In Versalovic J, Wilson M (ed), Therapeutic Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815462.ch21

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