Why Women Need Probiotics For Vaginal Health

healthy vagina, Probiotics, vaginal health -

Why Women Need Probiotics For Vaginal Health

WHAT IS PROBIOTICS?

Probiotic means “for life” and brings friendly bacteria into the body to promote a healthy environment. These friendly bacteria make up part of the vaginal flora. Since the body has limited resources to sustain good and bad bacteria, it is important to promote healthy bacteria to help keep other bacteria from flourishing. By boosting the healthy flora, probiotics promote the body’s normal, healthy functioning.

USES & BENEFITS OF PROBIOTICS

Probiotics may be used to promote a healthy environment in various parts of the human body including the digestive system, urinary tract, and vagina. In each of these environments, friendly bacteria keep bad bacteria from flourishing. Probiotics in the vagina, primarily Lactobacillus strains, act as a defensive force by colonizing the vaginal tract, stopping pathogenic microorganisms from setting up base. Without an appropriate bacterial balance, vaginal health is threatened by a wide range of harmful invaders. One way to ensure the correct quantity and quality of beneficial bacteria your body has at all times is to take a probiotic supplement, particularly one that contains a number of different beneficial bacteria strains.

It also:
  • Promotes an acidic vaginal environment to discourage the growth of bad bacteria by producing lactic acid.
  • Produces hydrogen peroxide to help create an inhospitable environment for the “unwanted guests”.
  • Stops microbes from adhering to the vaginal wall, and may also be able to displace those that have taken hold.
  • Plays a key role in stimulating the body’s immune responses, which strengthens its ability to fight off infection.
  • Actively fights bad microbes, and is often successful at disabling infection-causing bacteria, yeasts and viruses.
  • Improved digestion
  • Increased energy from production of vitamin B12
  • Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
  • Healthier skin, since probiotics naturally treat eczema and psoriasis
  • Reduced cold and flu
  • Healing from leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Weight loss
Lactobacillus, yeast, and other bacteria are all naturally present in your body, and vaginal health occurs when there is a healthy balance of these elements. Vaginal probiotics provide probiotic lactobacillus that works with your body to balance yeast and bacteria. In order to increase effectiveness a probiotic should: contain live active cultures and contain a strain specific to your needs. Many products on the market claim to contain probiotics, lactobacillus, and/or acidophilus. Some products contain probiotic strains that are designed to promote digestive, immunity or other health benefits but are not specific to vaginal health.

Many of the conventional approaches to UTIs use antibiotics, but this route is becoming more problematic with the dramatic rise in antibiotic resistance. So, while antibiotics may provide short-term benefit, their long-term effect remains debatable. Probiotics actually promote the growth of beneficial bacteria that fights the bad, compared with antibiotics which kill all bacteria (including the good guys). Vaginitis is also an irritating condition that results in unpleasant discharge and and itching. According to the latest research, there are specific strains that may be helpful for fighting vaginitis, UTIs, and IBS. Research suggests some strains of Lactobacillus inhibit Gardnerella vaginalis from adhering to vaginal epithelium. It appears that loss of vaginal lactobacilli is a major component in the development of changes contributing to bacterial vaginosis, making probiotic supplementation crucial. As previously mentioned, L. plantarum may help women with irritable bowel symptoms; however, most probiotic strains show benefit for this condition. With UTIs, the strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri appear to be the most effective at reducing risk.

WHICH VAGINAL CONDITIONS CAN BE TREATED WITH PROBIOTICS?

The link between probiotics and vaginal health has been studied quite extensively, and studies have shown promising results for conditions like:

Yeast Infections: Over three quarters of all women suffer from vaginal yeast infections (yeast vaginitis or candida infection) at least once in their lives, while others get them quite frequently. The symptoms include irritation, “curdled” or white discharge, unbearable itching in the vagina — the worst of them all. Vaginal yeast infections can be caused by a variety of factors, including low immunity, hormonal changes, high-sugar foods, tight clothing, douching, or antibiotics. The culprit is normally Candida albicans, but the infection may also be caused by C. krusei, C. glabrata, and C. tropicalis.

Low levels of estrogen and changes in vaginal pH have been linked to a drop in Lactobacillus populations, which allows bad bacteria to take their place. Fermented probiotic foods and probiotic supplements with live colonies of Lactobacillus can help boost the good bacteria in the vagina, setting the scale back to normal.

Bacterial Vaginosis: Also known as BV, it’s a common complaint in pre-menopausal women. The symptoms include vaginal itching, a burning sensation when you urinate, thin grayish discharge, and a “fishy”, unpleasant odor from the vagina. BV has been linked to a high pH level (over 4.5) in the vagina, as well as low levels of Lactobacillus bacteria in the vaginal tract. It may be caused by potentially pathogenic bacteria like Atopobium vaginae , Gardnerella vaginalis , Peptostreptococcus, Megasphera, Bacteroides, Mycoplasma hominis, Mobiluncus, and Prevotella.

While the bacteria listed above are not necessarily to blame, there are fewer strains of bacterial species in women with good vaginal health. A greater diversity in vaginal microflora has been found in women who suffer from BV than in those who do not have the disease.

BENEFITS OF PROBIOTICS FOR VAGINAL AND BLADDER HEALTH

In addition to maintaining better vaginal health, probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements can also help improve bladder health and keep urinary tract infections (UTIs) at bay. Oral intake of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri has also shown promising results. BV and UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics, while yeast infections are treated with antifungals. Probiotic supplements can help restore the bacterial balance in the vaginal and urinary tracts after antimicrobial treatment, which kills both good and bad bacteria. Many infections are caused by a drop in immunity, and vaginal health is linked to hormones. Studies have linked probiotic-rich diets with strengthened immune systems as well as hormonal balance, which makes them an important part of a healthy diet. Healthy vaginal bacteria also get passed on to your child when you give birth, so they’re protected by a thriving colony of helpful bacteria from the day they enter the world.

1 comment

  • Ramona

    This was a very helpful article, I didn’t know probiotics had so many benefits for the vagina and women’s health overall. I bought some probiotics and started taking them a few weeks ago, they really have helped my digestive system.

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