When it comes to vaginal health, it seems like there’s always something to be on the lookout for. The drop-down list of best practices for prevention is readily available at the forefront of your mind, because we all know the discomfort and anxiety of when something just isn’t right down there.
At some point, 1 in 2 women will get a urinary tract infection, 3 out of 4 will get yeast infection, and 1 in 3 women will bacterial vaginosis. The statistics are not in our favor, and what’s worse is that one infection can trigger another. Understanding how yeast infections, UTIs and BV are all interconnected helps us harness better control over our vaginal health.
Probiotics, beneficial living bacteria, have gotten a lot of press. They can improve gut health, immunity, and establish a healthy bacterial balance for your vagina. So how exactly does this beneficial bacteria operate? Lactobacillus keeps yeast and other bad bacteria in check by releasing acids and keeping the pH of the vagina low. Here’s how it works:
Lactobacillus is a friendly bacteria that exists naturally in our bodies. It’s the most common type of vaginal bacteria. There are many different strains of Lactobacilli, but only some of them live naturally in the vagina. Lactobacillus feeds on glycogen, which is found in vaginal mucus. The bacteria then emits lactic acid, bacteriocins (proteins that are toxic to bad bacteria), and hydrogen peroxide.Lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide act as antimicrobials and limit the growth of harmful bacteria. With lactic acid, the vagina is able to reach a healthy, moderately acidic pH of 3.8 to 4.5. This creates a protective environment and keeps yeast and unhealthy bacteria from multiplying too quickly. If the vagina has pH over 4.5, this makes it easier for harmful bacteria to flourish.
You’ve probably heard that foods like yogurt and kombucha are beneficial to your gut because they contain probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for you, so will stocking up on fermented foods do the same for your vagina? We don’t advise against it, but a vaginal health probiotics capsule is a simple way to replenish good bacteria in your system regularly and efficiently. There are many different strains of Lactobacilli, and they are not all equal. Only some of them should be present in the vagina. The 2 strands that have been clinically shown to restore the vaginal microbiome to a healthy state are called Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus fermentum (now called Lactobacillus Reuteri). In clinical trials, oral supplementation with these 2 specific strains, which naturally live in the vagina, led to balanced vaginal microbiomes that significantly reduced incidence of bacterial vaginosis and reduced UTI occurrence by 75%.
Reducing the risk of yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and UTIs are all related. Lactobacilli release acids to keep yeast and the bacteria that cause BV in check. It has also been shown that overgrowth of the bacteria that cause BV leads to an increase risk of UTI. As you can see, to manage one of these 3 infections appropriately, it should be thought of as part of a larger ecosystem.
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Our bodies house trillions of bacteria, so why is it that we aren’t ill 24/7? It’s because there is a natural balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in our intestines, vaginas, and bladders. Probiotics are living “good” bacteria that are consumed to help keep harmful bacteria in check.
A UTI is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in your bladder or urethra, so will a probiotic help prevent a UTI? It has been shown that G. vaginalis, the bacteria that causes BV, increases the risk of UTIs by traveling to the urinary tract and damaging the wall of the bladder.
While it is still not fully understood how probiotics prevent urinary tract infections, the research is promising:
• This studyfound that the use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus fermentum (now called Lactobacillus Reuteri) cut down UTI recurrences from an average of 6 to 1.6 per year.
• In 2001, the University of Western Ontario found that specific strains of Lactobacillus “restore and maintain a normal urogenital flora” after 28 days of oral use.
•Probiotics may be an alternative to prophylactic antibiotic therapy because they can bind to bladder cells and stop pathogenic growth.
Further studies are required to verify if probiotics are effective for recurrent UTI treatment.
Feminine probiotics are helpful for preventing bacterial vaginosis (BV), and yeast infections. Feminine probiotics are living bacteria that already exist in our bodies. They have been shown to also have an impact on recurrent UTIs.
While many strains of the Lactobacillus genus exist in our bodies naturally, scientists have found two strains of probiotic bacteria that are effective when it comes to fighting bacterial and fungal infection: Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri.
Lactobacilliconsume sugars and convert them to lactic acid. This acid maintains a relatively moderate and healthy vaginal pH of 3.8-4.5. They keep pathogenic organisms like Candida albicans and Gardnerella vaginalis from overgrowing and causing a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, respectively.
A 2003 studyfound that 37% of women who took Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteriprobiotics daily experienced a normal Lactobacilli-colonized vaginal microflora; versus 13% of women who took the placebo. It’s important to note that when these women enrolled in the study, they were experiencing asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis. They were successfully treated by consuming the Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus reuteri probiotics alongside the antibiotics.
As far as feminine probiotics go for preventing yeast infections, ample amounts of Lactobacillus in the vaginal microbiota prevent fungi from attaching to the wall of the vagina.
Given that prevention is preferable to antibiotics, using a probiotic for vaginal health is effective and safe. When you take a probiotic composed of the right strains, you may reduce your risk of yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and reduce recurrent UTIs.
One type of probiotic that is especially helpful is Lactobacillus. Lactobacillusis a “friendly” bacteria that thrives in our bodies. We’ve got a good relationship with this strain of bacteria— they break down sugars found in vaginal mucus and convert it to lactic acid, which inhibits pathogens from over-colonizing the vaginal microflora. However, not all Lactobacilli belong in the vagina, so a probiotic should contain the right strains.
For women who are susceptible to UTIs, certain strains of probiotics have been successful in reducing recurrent UTIs and establishing a healthy balance of “good” and “bad” vaginal bacteria.
A vaginal health probiotic is a probiotic (living bacteria) that improves the natural balance of benign and pathogenic bacteria in your vagina. Healthy vaginas are primarily colonized by the Lactobacillus genus of bacteria.
Unfortunately, some of us are more prone to bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections or UTIs. This could be because populations of naturally occurring “good bacteria” aren’t strong enough. Lactobacillus fights off opportunistic pathogens like Gardnerella vaginalis (associated with BV), Candida albicans (associated with yeast infections), or E.coli (associated with UTIs).
Consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kombucha may help improve your digestive microbiome. Consuming a specific oral vaginal health probiotic capsule daily has also been proven to reduce bacterial and fungal infections. Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri should be strains included in the vaginal probiotic. These, unlike other lactobacilli, live naturally in the vagina and have powerful, preventative effects.
Bacterial vaginosis is usually a result of an overgrowth or imbalance of pathogenic bacteria in the vagina. Although it exists naturally in your vagina, Gardnerella vaginalis is typically the cause of bacterial vaginosis. If you’re low on lactobacillus, which is the main “good” bacteria that naturally exists in your vagina, G. vaginaliscan grow and you may experience bacterial vaginosis symptoms. Lactobacillus releases acids to keep other bacteria, like G. vaginalis, in check.
Your vaginal microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms. Associate Professor Willa Huston from the University of Technology Sydney tells ABC News "Particular types of lactobacilli have functions that keep the environment very acidic, that interact with our host cells and keep the right mucus production going”. This is considered to be a healthy vaginal microbiome.
Spermicidal lubes, antibiotics, sexual activity, or hormonal contraceptives can throw off your vaginal microbiome. If you’re prone to UTIs, BV, or yeast infections, keeping a healthy vaginal microbiome will help with prevention.
There are more than fifty different species of microbes that live in your vagina. Most of these bacteria fall into the lactobacilli group, but not all Lactobacilli live in the vagina. Lactobacilli are the bacteria primarily responsible for maintaining vaginal health. They produce lactic acid and bacteriocins (proteins toxic to harmful bacteria), which has an antimicrobial effect.
This is why consuming certain strains of lactobacilli in the form of an oral capsule is a beneficial way to keep your lactobacilli levels up so destructive bacteria don’t have the chance to take over. A 2003 study showed that Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri are two strains that can make a big impact on vaginal health. Two months of daily probiotic consumption shifted the vaginal microflora from possessing yeast and harmful bacteria to having a normal Lactobacilli-colonized environment. They are the best probiotics for vaginal health and the best vitamins for vaginal health.
Vaginal health is a taboo topic, even today. Many women aren’t even aware of how the role bacteria play in vaginal health, or how probiotics can help. To understand feminine hygiene, it’s important to know about vaginal issues and a probiotic for UTI prevention.
Many people know there are both bad and good bacteria in the body. However, they don’t always know the difference between the two.
Bad bacteria are the reason germs and diseases spread, and why we have antibiotics and vaccines. It’s also the reason we are told to wash our hands and use disinfectants to kill germs.
On the other hand, good bacteria far outnumber the bad and are often found in our gut. This type of bacteria helps digest and process food, boost the immune system, produce vitamins and acids that protect the body and even help absorb nutrients. In short, good bacteria act like the human body’s natural protector. These are part of the flora in the body and can be used as a vaginal health probiotic if needed.
For starters, what are probiotics? These are the good bacteria that live in your body. More often than not, probiotics are associated with digestive health. After all, your intestines are a hotspot for bacteria.
But why should you consider adding probiotic supplements to your health plan? They can help support a healthy immune system by adding and supporting the growth of good bacteria in your body. They can also, in some instances, help with weight management. There are, of course, options for a feminine probiotic to support vaginal health.
How do you add probiotics to your diet? Probiotics can be found in a number of places, including those listed below:
There are two common types of probiotics. The first, Lactobacillus, is the most common. This is found in fermented foods like yogurt and can be helpful with diarrhea and vaginal health. The second is Bifidobacterium and can be used for treating irritable bowel syndrome.
Lactobacillus is a vaginal health probiotic that can help maintain good pH levels and good organisms by getting rid of other bacteria and pathogens that may harm your vaginal health. This is one probiotic you can take to help treat and prevent vaginal problems.
Probiotics can be used as a way of treating and managing vaginal health. However, in order for these to be effective, it’s important to know what the common issues women face for vaginal health. The top three are listed here:
Each of these has specific symptoms. If you believe you are dealing with one of these issues, it’s important to speak with your doctor to discuss treatment.
There are many preventative measures women can take to counteract and manage vaginal problems such as UTIs and yeast infections. This includes good feminine hygiene, being aware of symptoms and risk factors, urinating after sex, not holding in urine, and good diet and exercise.
Another step you can take is to add probiotics to your diet. This can be something like a probiotic for bacterial vaginosis. For example, studies have shown that consuming a Lactobacillus probiotic daily can create a good microflora in the vagina. While this probiotic may not protect you entirely, it works to create a healthy and safe vaginal bacteria balance for your body and can aid in preventing certain infections or imbalances.