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Alternative therapies for bacterial vaginosis: An acceptability survey and literature review

Elizabeth R. Boskey, PhD MPH, Department of Preventative Medicine and Community Health, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Ave, Box 43, Brooklyn, NY 11203, 718-270-1075, elizabeth.boskey@downstate.edu

Objectives: This presentation reviews current research into non-antibiotic treatments for bacterial vaginosis. It also assesses the potential for interest in non-antibiotic therapies in a non-representative sample of women.

Design: Online survey and literature review.

Subjects: A convenience sample of 192 women was selected from an online community devoted to the discussion of women’s health.

Results: Data on alternative treatments for bacterial vaginosis is mixed. Studies have shown both positive and null effects for probiotic and lactic acid based treatments. The results of antiseptic studies were more uniformly positive, but were generally not placebo controlled. Women in the survey population were both interested in and experienced with non-traditional therapies for reproductive health problems – 44% of them had used home or natural remedies to treat vaginal infections or menstrual problems, and only 20% indicated that traditional antibiotics and antifungals would be their treatment of choice.

Conclusions: Women are interested in non-antibiotic alternative treatments for women’s health problems such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Although such treatments have been investigated, further research – particularly in the form of high quality randomized controlled trials - is strongly indicated.

Learning Objectives:

  • "At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

    Keywords: Reproductive Health, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Alternative and Complementary Health Practices and Public Health

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA