Zinc-containing vaginal gel for the prevention of recurrent vaginal infections: a pilot trial

Zinc plays a pivotal role in the body to prevent infection and maintain epidermal balance. At the 2022 American Urogynecologic Society and International Urogynecological Association’s 47th Annual Meeting, a poster presentation showed that using a zinc-containing vaginal gel may decrease the reoccurrence of vaginal infections in women.

Vaginal infections are an all-too common and troubling condition for many women, causing pain, discomfort and an interruption to a good quality of life. Investigators Bence Kozma, MD, PhD; Attila Gergely Sipos, MD, PhD; Krisztina Pákozdy, MD, all from the University of Debrecen, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hungary; and and Péter Takács, MD, professor, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Norfolk,shared the results of their study that tested the prophylactic use of zinc-containing gel to decrease the reoccurrence of vaginal infection in women with recurrent vaginal infections.

In this small study, 10 women were initially enrolled. Two were lost to follow-up, and 8 completed the trial. The 8 remaining women had a mean age of 32 + 6 years and a mean BMI of 24 + 5 years. All women were premenopausal, were not using any oral or vaginal hormonal treatment, and, on average, had at least one infection every 3 months before treatment. The number of sexual partners for each woman was one.

After being treated with a prophylactic treatment with a commercially available zinc-containing vaginal gel, 5 out of the 8 study participants did not get an infection in the first 3 months. Three women did develop one vaginal infection each, which resulted in a 62% reduction in infection.

The researchers encourage further studies to delineate possible mechanisms of action, which include lactic acid (acidic pH favors lactobacilli and prevents overgrowth of other organisms) and hydroxyethyl cellulose (gentle exfoliation offers increased presence of glycogen and favors lactobacilli growth).

Reference

Kozma B, Sipos AG, Pázkozdy K, Takács P. Zinc-containing vaginal gel for the prevention of recurrent vaginal infections: a pilot trial. Poster presentation at the 2022 American Urogynecologic Society and International Urogynecological Association’s 47th Annual Meeting. June 14-18, 2022. Austin, Texas.