3 Benefits of Taking Probiotics for Vaginal Health
From sound healing and spiritual self-care to virtual fitness and breathwork, there’s no denying that we’ve seen a major uptick in wellness trends over the years — likely thanks to COVID-19.
With the coronavirus sweeping over the globe, taking care and control of your health has been even more critical than ever. That’s why many people are starting to dabble in proactive and preventative health practices. In fact, experts say the global wellness industry is on track to reach a whopping $7 trillion (yes, trillion — with a “T”) by 2025.
While there are plenty of questionable fads circulating the internet (*cough, cough* slimming tea), there’s one that we can definitely get behind — probiotics. But not just for gut health, for vaginal health, too.
Probiotics are having a moment, and women everywhere are beginning to see just how beneficial these bacteria can be for their nether regions. What are those benefits, you ask? We’ll tell you. Read on to get the low-down on probiotic supplements for vaginal health.
What Are Probiotics?
More often than not, probiotics refer to supplements filled with a healthy blend of bacteria that have been shown to enhance overall health and wellness.
Everyone has billions — if not trillions — of healthy bacteria on their skin and inside their body, with the majority residing in the gut. The basic concept behind these coveted probiotic supplements is that by ensuring you have a diverse community of bacteria in your digestive system, you’ll be able to ensure a healthy life. However, thanks to everyday stressors and dietary habits, this is often easier said than done.
Things like sugar, alcohol, high levels of stress, new medications, and even antibiotics can all cause an interruption in the balance of microbiota (aka bacteria) in the body. And when your friendly gut bugs are out of whack, a slew of uncomfortable symptoms are sure to follow suit, such as:
- Digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or bloating
- Sleep issues
- Allergies and skin rashes
- Sugar cravings
- Mood changes
- Constant sleepiness or sluggishness
- Digestive discomfort
Oh, and an unbalanced gut can also contribute to inflammation, which can spill over and affect your genital tract — more on this later!
What Are the Health Benefits of Taking an Oral Probiotic?
In short, probiotics keep your body in neutral. When you’re fighting an illness, for example, bad bacteria enter the body and increase in number. In other words, they multiply. This can quickly knock your body out of balance.
Good bacteria (commonly found in probiotic supplements) work to ward off the bad guys to restore the equilibrium within the body, which in turn, helps to make you feel better.
Probiotics help keep you healthy by boosting immunity and keeping inflammation in check. Certain probiotic strains can also:
- Create vitamins
- Improve symptoms of mental health disorders
- Prevent digestive upset
- Aid heart health
- Promote digestion
- Support the cells that line the gut to keep bad bacteria from entering the bloodstream
A good probiotic — like Good Girl Probiotics — that contains diverse bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria may also support the health of your vagina.*
Why Take Probiotics for Vaginal Health?
Between bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections, there’s nothing fun about a vaginal imbalance. But if you’re still on the fence about adding a probiotic to your daily supplement line-up, these incredible benefits listed below may change your mind:
Benefit #1: Keeps Yeast in Check
Seeing as over one million women in the U.S. experience a yeast infection each year, you’ve probably had one before. But if you haven’t, count your lucky stars (and maybe get a lotto ticket) because these infections are horrible.
Also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis or vaginal candidiasis, yeast infections are caused by a specific type of yeast called candida. When this yeast is balanced — thanks to the friendly bacteria in your vagina — there are no problems. But when that balance gets disrupted, an overgrowth of yeast erupts, leading to a yeast infection.
Between the pain, itching, and stinging, we wouldn’t wish one of these infections on our worst enemy (ok, well, maybe). Yup, they are truly that bad. Fortunately, a probiotic supplement that contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus reuteri can usually do the trick to keep yeast in check.
In other words, probiotics may keep those pesky yeast infections at bay! This is excellent news for those who experience recurrent (chronic) yeast infections.
Dealing with a painful yeast infection as you’re reading this article? We recommend our Vaginal Suppository Kit — this pair of vaginal suppositories keeps yeast levels where they need to be to prevent overgrowth. The Killer balances vaginal pH while Flora Power works to relieve symptoms of odor.*
Made with only good-for-you ingredients and, of course, lots of love.
Benefit #2: Combats Bacterial Vaginosis
Fishy odors, strange discharge, and itchiness, oh my! If you’re anything like us, BV is the bane of your existence.
Not only can it sometimes be embarrassing, but it can wreak havoc on your sex life. Untreated BV can lead to especially painful sex and smells that are anything but a bushel of daisies.
Similar to yeast infections, BV occurs when the pH balance in the vagina goes a little haywire. This imbalance is typically due to the overgrowth of (unfriendly) bacteria, which ultimately upsets the natural balance. And also like yeast infections, some women get these bacterial infections on the reg.
This is where probiotics — like Good Girl Probiotics — can help.
A vaginal probiotic that maintains urinary tract health, Good Girl Probiotics is made with eight powerful strains of good bacteria to support vaginal health and the vaginal microbiome. Our unique formula supports three key areas: reproductive health organs, the gut, and the immune system.*
Simply take two capsules every day to give your vaginal flora the support it needs to maintain bacterial balance.
Benefit #3: Promotes Good Vaginal Health
There are many reasons to take a probiotic supplement. Probiotics aid digestion, fight inflammation, boost immunity, and more. But for those of us with female hardware below the belt, perhaps the best benefit of these friendly gut bugs is their ability to aid and restore the vaginal microbiome’s natural balance. And as we’ve previously discussed, balance is key to maintaining good health.
While there are a ton of options available on the market when it comes to probiotics, we recommend our Probiotics Kit — aka the probiotic dream team — to support your gut, skin, and vaginal health. Complete microbiome care, from head to toe. What’s not to love?
Why Is Vaginal Bacteria Important?
The vaginal flora — aka the vaginal microbiome — is the collective term for the colonies of harmless bacteria inside your vagina.
A healthy, happy, and balanced vaginal flora is indisputably important for reproductive and sexual health. Just like your gut, your vagina is home to many microorganisms, some good, some bad.
The types of vaginal bacteria found in your microbiome are unique to you as everyone is different, and no two microbiomes are exactly the same. But, more often than not, a healthy vaginal microbiome is made up mostly of the Lactobacillus species.
Lactobacillus, or lactobacillus acidophilus, is a friendly microbe strain that helps maintain a healthy vaginal pH, which then prevents the overgrowth of various bad bacteria. A neutral pH is 7, but the healthy vaginal pH ranges between 3.8 and 5.0. Lactobacillus is responsible for making lactic acid, which in turn helps maintain this acidic pH.
What Triggers Lead to pH Imbalance?
Many factors can disrupt your vagina’s pH, but some of the most common culprits include:
Unprotected Sex (*ahem* semen)
You may live by the motto “no glove, no love” to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but you should also practice safe sex because semen is alkaline and can quickly alter the pH of your vagina.
When you hear someone say, “douching,” images of those outdated vaginal douching devices that shoot water into the vaginal cavity likely come to mind. In this day and age, douching entails rinsing out the inside of the vagina using water or sometimes mixtures of baking soda, vinegar, or iodine.
Although roughly one in five women report that they douche on the reg, doctors and medical experts advise against it because it can change the pH and flora of your vagina.
When it comes to treating infections, antibiotics are KING. Unfortunately, though, this medication can kill off not only the bad bacteria that are making you sick — but also the good bacteria that are present in your vagina and responsible for maintaining a healthy pH.
Did you know that menstrual blood has a pH of 7.4? This means that your vagina’s acidic environment can change during shark week (remember, healthy vaginal pH ranges between 3.8 and 5.0).
If period blood sits against your private area in a tampon or pad for an extended period of time, your vagina becomes less acidic — hence why it’s so important to change your tampons and tampons frequently!
Believe it or not, stress can also throw a monkey wrench in the microbiome — both in your gut and vagina.
The “fight or flight” response that you experience when under a lot of stress may be harmful to the vaginal flora, especially if you’re dealing with chronic stress. This is because the stress hormone cortisol indirectly influences the populations of Lactobacilli, which, as you know by now, is responsible for maintaining a healthy vaginal pH.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of an Unbalanced Vaginal pH?
Think you’re dealing with a vaginal pH imbalance? Here are the telltale signs to watch for:
- A fishy or foul-smelling odor
- Unusual white, green, yellow, or grey discharge
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Itching around the vulva and/or vagina
- Thick or cottage cheese-like discharge
- Swelling and irritation around the vagina
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to get checked out.
A medical professional will be able to figure out exactly what’s going on and point you in the direction of the best treatment suited to your specific needs. They may also recommend taking a probiotic to lend a hand to your good bacteria as they fight the bad bugs to help you feel better.
Probiotics are widely known for improving digestive health, but what many people don’t realize is that it’s not just their gut that benefits from these friendly bacteria; the vagina does, too.
More research still needs to be done, but seeing as one probiotic strain — L. acidophilus — plays a major role in maintaining vaginal pH, we’d say the future for vaginal probiotics is looking bright!
Here at Love Wellness, we create female-friendly products made with you — and your vaginal flora — in mind. You won’t ever find any icky chemicals or microbiome-disrupting ingredients in our formulas; only the best, for the best. Why?
Because just like you, we experience everyday problems, too — from period poops and questionable discharge to belly bloat and stinky farts. So if you’re searching for something to soothe your gut, heal your skin, combat vaginal itching, or support your mood, we’ve got your back.
Check us out today and start restoring your bacterial balance tomorrow. Trust us, your vagina will thank you later!
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