Should you take probiotics for vaginal health? “Cleveland Clinic.”

Whether found in foods such as pickles, yogurt or sauerkraut, or even as a supplement, probiotics help with gut health. Living microorganisms, probiotics survive in the gut when ingested and provide more of the good bacteria we naturally have.

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But is it possible that these same probiotics help the health of your vagina?

The study is promising, says Ob / Gyn Oluwatosin Goje, MD.

“A lot lactobacillus strains have probiotic properties and several studies have proven the ability of lactobacillus to adhere to the vaginal and cervical epithelial cells, “explains Dr. Godzhe. “Numerous lactobacillus strains have been shown to be active against the major pathogens responsible for bacterial infections of the vaginal and urinary tract.

some lactobacillus strains that can help with vaginal health include:

  • lactobacillus acidophilus.
  • lactobacillus rhamnose.
  • lactobacillus gasseri.
  • lactobacillus curly.
  • lactobacillus jensenii.
  • lactobacillus reuteri.

Dr. Godzhe explains research on probiotics and vaginal health.

Vaginal concerns related to microbiomes

It is estimated that about 100 trillion microbes are found in the human body, many of which are found in our intestines.

But there are more than 50 different germs that live in your vagina. Researchers are just beginning to study the link between the gut microbiome and the vaginal microbiome, says Dr. Godzhe.

“There is a possibility of ‘mutual disturbances’ between the intestinal and vaginal microbiota; however, we still need more research to understand the connection, “he said. “The transfer of a bacterial strain from the gut to the vagina has been shown in a laboratory. But the question of whether we can balance vaginal health through gut health is still experimental.

Vaginal imbalance can lead to bacterial vaginosis and fungal infections.

These imbalances can be caused by:

  • Having unprotected sex.
  • Changes in hormones.
  • The presence of a menstrual cycle.
  • Poor hygiene.

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common vaginal infection, occurs when the normal bacteria that live in your vagina outgrow it, causing bacterial imbalances and changes in vaginal pH.

Symptoms may include:

  • dirty white, gray or greenish vaginal discharge.
  • A secretion that smells like “fish”.
  • A “fishy” odor that is stronger after sex or during your menstrual cycle.

In some people, BV goes away without treatment. But others may need antibiotics to treat the infection.

Studies show that taking probiotics such as Lactobacillus delbrueckii can cure and even help prevent BV.

“The vaginal application of Lactobacillus delbrueckii after treatment with BV with a topical antibiotic, it reduces relapses for three months after the last dose of the probiotic, ”says Dr. Goje.

Yeast infections

Vaginal yeast infection is a type of vaginitis, a condition in which your vagina is swollen, painful and secretes. Vaginal yeast infections occur in more than 1 million people in the United States each year.

Symptoms may include:

  • Sensation of itching in the vagina and vulva.
  • Dense white vaginal discharge with curd consistency.
  • Redness and swelling of the vagina and vulva.
  • Small cuts or cracks in the skin of your vulva.
  • Burning sensation when urinating.

Vaginal yeast infection is traditionally treated with an antifungal drug. This type of medication is used specifically to combat yeast overgrowth in your body.

But Lactobacillus rhamnosus can also be useful when it comes to fungal infections. The probiotic can survive under acidic conditions in the human body, leading to long-term benefits.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus, the most researched probiotic has been found to be useful in preventing yeast infection, ”explains Dr. Godzhe. “Research shows that Lactobacillus rhamnosus kills bacteria and yeast in the vagina. It can restore the urogenital flora in people with a history of BV, yeast vaginitis or urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Lactoferrin, a protein and one of the main antimicrobial components of our immune system, has been found to kill bacteria in the vagina. Combination of oral lactoferrin with or without oral or vaginal lactobacillus can restore balance in your vagina and prevent frequent infections.

Do I need probiotics for pH balance?

Different areas of the human body have their own pH balance, including blood, skin and reproductive system.

You may have seen products that are said to help balance the pH of your vagina. So, is vaginal pH balance something to worry about?

Your vaginal pH levels play a role in preventing infections, maintaining a healthy pregnancy and any hormonal changes.

How acidic the substance is from 0 to 14. A pH less than 7 is considered acidic and a pH above 7 is essential. Maintaining a normal vaginal pH above 4.5 can help achieve a balanced vaginal environment and prevent recurrence of BV.

Turning to probiotics can help balance vaginal pH.

“Probiotics, or lactobacillus found in probiotics, they produce lactic acid, which in turn produces hydrogen peroxide, ”says Dr. Godzhe. “The production of hydrogen peroxide contributes to a healthy vagina, establishing protection against pathogens.”

Strains to look for to promote overall health

There are about 500 different strains of probiotics. When it comes to promoting the overall health of your vagina, you want to look for probiotics Lactobacillus delbrueckii and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which have been shown in human studies to be beneficial for vaginal health.

  • Lactobacillus crispatus This strain is one of the predominant in the vaginal microbiota and produces hydrogen peroxide. Lactobacillus delbrueckii is available as a supplement.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus. This strain is usually found in your gut and produces lactase, an enzyme. Lactase can break down sugar lactose into lactic acid. Lactobacillus rhamnosus is available as a supplement, but is also added to foods such as yogurt, cheese, milk and other dairy products.

“I recommend that you read the labels and confirm that there are lactobacillus curly and or lactobacillus rhamnose by the way lactobacillus in probiotics, ”says Dr. Godzhe. “Probiotics come as a combination of different lactobacillus. Some have lactoferrin, and those aimed at preventing UTI may have cranberry extracts.

Although probiotics have no side effects, make sure you take any supplements as directed. And if you have recurrent BV and fungal infections, even after you have tried medications and probiotic supplements, it is important to see your doctor.

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