Background Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common, frequently recurrent condition typically treated with oral metronidazole. Using lactose as a vaginal prebiotic to support Lactobacilli growth and lactic acid production is a new approach to treating and preventing overgrowth of vaginal pathogens. A vaginal tablet containing lactose 1.2 mg (LadyBalance ApS, Denmark) has been available in Denmark since 2004. For the treatment of BV, it is administered once daily for 1-week; it can subsequently be used on alternate days to prevent recurrence and to maintain the vaginal environment.
Aims To evaluate the perceived effect of a lactose vaginal tablet (LVT) on vaginal health.
Methods Women who had used the LVT between 2005 and 2009 were invited to complete a web-based questionnaire.
Results In the 728 responders who had used the LVT, the most commonly reported reasons for use were vaginal discharge with/without malodour (73%/18%), vaginal itching or irritation (37%), and vaginal dryness (16%). 90% of women with self-reported vaginal discharge with offensive odour reported improvement within 1 week. Improvement of symptoms within 1 week was also reported by 81% of women with vaginal discharge without odour, 83% with vaginal itching and irritation, and 76% with vaginal dryness. These effects were generally maintained in women who continued to use the product over longer periods (up to 1 year). Reported side effects were minor and included clear or powdery discharge.
Discussion An LVT offers the potential of a natural treatment for BV, vaginal itching, irritation and dryness and for protection against recurrent BV or vaginal candidiasis. Its lack of serious side effects and drug interactions could make it an attractive alternative to standard therapies. The clinical effectiveness and tolerability of the LVT require further investigation.
Conclusions The LVT was perceived as highly effective in treating a range of vaginal symptoms.