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In the human vagina, there are microbes such as bacteria that are naturally present and are part of a healthy, balanced vaginal microbiota. These bacteria play a protective role by limiting the growth of potentially harmful microbes, such as harmful bacteria, including those harmful microbes associated with bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections.11, 12
In the majority of women, bacteria called lactobacilli are naturally dominant in the vagina11 and are thought to play a major role in protecting the vaginal environment from potentially harmful microbes. Lactobacilli bacteria do this in a number of ways, such as making the environment too acidic for potentially harmful bacteria to grow, competing for the nutrients that harmful bacteria need to grow, and producing substances that make it difficult for the harmful bacteria to grow.13, 14
Vaginal infections can occur when the bacteria in the vaginal environment are out of balance. The most common infection is called bacterial vaginosis. The infection usually occurs when lactobacilli are no longer dominant and instead there is a greater presence of other bacteria, such as Gardnerella vaginalis, Atopobium and Prevotella.15
Vulvovaginal candidiasis is a yeast infection associated with Candida. Usually, Candida live in parts of the body such as the vagina without any detrimental effects, but under certain conditions Candida can overgrow and cause an infection.15
The urinary tract microbiome is also mostly composed of bacteria from the genus Lactobacillus. As in the vaginal microbiome, these lactobacilli bacteria are thought to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as E. coli.16
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) may occur when the lactobacilli bacteria no longer dominate the urinary tract and potentially harmful microbes such as E.coli bacteria have increased in presence.16
The Chr. Hansen UREX™ blend is a combination of the GR-1® and RC-14® probiotic strains. The effect of the two strains on the urogenital tract has been extensively researched in human clinical studies.
In several studies, daily intake of the UREX™ probiotic blend has been associated with improvement of the vaginal microbiota. In a high-quality scientific study, women with bacterial vaginosis were randomized to receive placebo or UREX™. After 6 weeks, significantly more women in the UREX™ group had a restored, balanced vaginal microbiota than women in the placebo group.17
A study of post-menopausal women with an unbalanced microbiota randomized the women to receive a placebo or UREX™ probiotic blend. After 4 weeks, the women who received the UREX™ blend had an improved vaginal microbiota that was within the normal, healthy range, whereas the balance of vaginal bacteria of the women in the placebo group was not significantly improved.1
In two studies, combining UREXTM with antibiotic treatment was associated with greater improvement in bacterial vaginosis and symptoms than when antibiotics were combined with placebo, suggesting UREXTM may further support the effect of antibioitcs.3, 18 Read more.
The effect of UREXTM supplementation in combination with an antifungal agent to alleviate vulvovaginal candidiasis has also been investigated. In the study, women received either an antifungal agent plus UREXTM or the same antifungal agent plus placebo. After four weeks, the women who consumed UREXTM had significantly less vaginal discharge and lower presence of yeast than the women given placebo.4
Women who experienced recurrent UTIs were randomized to consume UREXTM or a low-dose course of antibiotics for one year. Results from the study showed that the number of UTIs that occurred was significantly reduced in both groups and there was no significant difference in the number of infections between the groups receiving either antibiotics or UREXTM.2 The results of the study suggest that UREXTM may help support urinary tract health in women who experience recurrent UTIs.
The UREXTM blend is a specific combination of the GR-1® and RC-14® probiotic strains and has been associated with supporting vaginal and urinary tract health. Specifically, studies suggest that UREXTM promotes vaginal and urinary tract health when used alone and in combination with antibiotic or antifungal treatments. In other studies, participants consuming the UREXTM blend experienced fewer recurrences of urinary tract infections.
Read more about our probiotics strains here.
The UREX™ blend is a combination of two probiotic bacterial strains, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri, RC-14®. UREX™ has been associated with supporting female urogenital health.
UREX™, GR-1® and RC-14® are trademarks of Chr. Hansen A/S
1. Petricevic L, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of oral lactobacilli to improve the vaginal flora of postmenopausal women. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2008;141(1):54-7. (PubMed)
2. Beerepoot MA, et al. [A study of non-antibiotic versus antibiotic prophylaxis for recurrent urinary-tract infections in women (the NAPRUTI study)]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2006;150(10):574-5. (PubMed)
3. Anukam K, et al. Augmentation of antimicrobial metronidazole therapy of bacterial vaginosis with oral probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Microbes Infect. 2006;8(6):1450-4. (PubMed)
4. Martinez RC, et al. Improved treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with fluconazole plus probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2009;48(3):269-74. (PubMed)
5. Bradshaw CS, et al. Prevalent and Incident Bacterial Vaginosis Are Associated with Sexual and Contraceptive Behaviours in Young Australian Women. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57688. (PubMed)
6. Allsworth JE, Peipert JF. Prevalence of bacterial vaginosis: 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. Obstet Gynecol. 2007;109(1):114-20. (PubMed)
7. Chico RM, et al. Prevalence of malaria and sexually transmitted and reproductive tract infections in pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review. JAMA. 2012;307(19):2079-86. (PubMed)
8. Foxman B, et al. Prevalence of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis in 5 European countries and the United States: results from an internet panel survey. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2013;17(3):340-5. (PubMed)
9. Corsello S, et al. An epidemiological survey of vulvovaginal candidiasis in Italy. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2003;110(1):66-72. (PubMed)
10. Flores-Mireles AL, et al. Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015;13(5):269-84. (PubMed)
11. Ma B, et al. Vaginal microbiome: rethinking health and disease. Annu Rev Microbiol. 2012;66:371-89. (PubMed)
12. Valenti P, et al. Role of Lactobacilli and Lactoferrin in the Mucosal Cervicovaginal Defense. Front Immunol. 2018;9:376-. (PubMed)
13. Aroutcheva A, et al. Defense factors of vaginal lactobacilli. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001;185(2):375-9. (PubMed)
14. Rönnqvist PD, et al. Lactobacilli in the female genital tract in relation to other genital microbes and vaginal pH. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(6):726-35. (PubMed)
15. Ceccarani C, et al. Diversity of vaginal microbiome and metabolome during genital infections. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):14095. (PubMed)
16. Brubaker L, Wolfe A. The urinary microbiota: a paradigm shift for bladder disorders? Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2016;28(5):407-12. (PubMed)
17. Vujic G, et al. Efficacy of orally applied probiotic capsules for bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2013;168(1):75-9. (PubMed)
18. Martinez RC, et al. Improved cure of bacterial vaginosis with single dose of tinidazole (2 g), Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Can J Microbiol. 2009;55(2):133-8. (PubMed)