Supporting Vaginal Health with Probiotics
Women’s urogenital tracts abound with bacteria – when we have a dominance of ‘good’ bacteria, the vagina is healthy, but when ‘bad’ bacteria dominates, we can run into problems like bacterial vaginosis (BV) and candida infection (thrush).
Antibiotics vs Probiotics
Often in cases of BV, women are prescribed oral or local (i.e. in a pessary or cream applied directly in or on to the vagina) antibiotics.
However, this treatment is associated with high rates of failure and recurrence of BV. This may be because antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as bad!
Treating with oral or local probiotics may be the answer. By introducing more good bacteria, bad bacteria has trouble growing, and balance is restored to the vaginal tract.
Lactobacillus Bacteria help maintain vaginal health…
The most abundant type of good bacteria come from the Lactobacillus species of bacteria.
These help to maintain vaginal health by:
- competing with harmful organisms for space and nutrients
- maintaining healthy vaginal pH (the acidity of the vagina)
- producing antimicrobial substances like hydrogen peroxide.
… and You Can Help!
Give your good bacteria a helping hand in maintaining vaginal health by:
• Maintaining your general health through diet and exercise – including probiotic foods like natural yoghurt, kimchi and sauerkraut may be particularly beneficial
• Wearing cotton underwear instead of synthetic material
• Using only warm water to clean the vagina – soaps can disrupt the balance and pH
• Never using fragrances or deodorants on the vaginal area – even ones which are designed for intimate use. Remember that a strong odour could signal an infection, and should be checked out.
Sometimes circumstances out of our control step in and disrupt the balance of vaginal health, which could lead to irritation or infection.
Changes in oestrogen levels, for example during menopause, pregnancy or even the menstrual cycle, and sexual activity can lead to an increase in bad bacteria. In times like this, turn to probiotics to give your good bacteria a boost.
Pessary vs. Oral Probiotic
While beneficial bacteria can enter the vaginal tract from either route, oral probiotics must first pass through the gastrointestinal tract and may take a little longer to reach the desired area.
Probiotics delivered locally via pessary may work more quickly, by ensuring the bacteria is distributed exactly where it needs to go.
It should be noted that probiotic pessaries have not been specifically trialled in pregnancy; though there are no known safety issues, if you are pregnant, you should speak to your healthcare practitioner before using a pessary probiotic
So while taking an oral probiotic, which may have additional benefits, can be the perfect tool for maintenance of vaginal health, a pessary may provide a fast-acting boost in good bacteria in times of imbalance.
Supporting Vaginal Health with Probiotics – Bioceuticals UltraBiotic FEMI+ is a multi-strain probiotic pessary with lactoferrin:
- Contains 1.35 billion CFU of a combination of six diferent strains of bacteria as well as lactoferrin, in a convenient pessary for local delivery.
- Includes clinically trialled L. plantarum strain.
- Administration of L. planetarium vaginally demonstrated an increase in vaginal lactobacilli numbers.
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