We’ve all heard this before: probiotics are the gut’s best friend. But now researchers are saying that they could even be beneficial for our vaginal health!
Probiotics and Vaginal Health
Ever wondered how our women ancestors remedied vaginal infections in ancient times when antibiotics and fungal treatments weren’t widespread?
Back then, natural yogurt was considered the best natural medicine for restoring vaginal health. And even today, people consider it as one of the best probiotic foods by health experts.
A recent study in the Family Practice Journal said that a diet abundant in natural yogurt and other prebiotic-rich foods can fight the risk of bacterial vaginosis, which is one of the most common vaginal infections in mature women.
Laurie Cullen, a medical professor at Bastyr University says that even though there aren’t a lot of studies that show a link between probiotics and reduced risk of recurrent vaginal infections, it only seems logical that the beneficial bacteria that improve gut health can also combat infections in our delicate lady parts.
Cullen says that a colony of beneficial bacterial strains called Lactobacilli live inside the vaginal ecosystem. It maintains the pH inside the vagina around 4.2. However, the delicate pH balance is often disrupted by a host of factors, leading to recurring infections.
If the pH rises above the optimum level, it leads to an overgrowth of bacteria, causing bacterial vaginosis, whereas lowered pH levels can lead to various yeast infections, although Candida albicans is the most common fungal strain.
A number of factors can cause a pH imbalance in our vaginas. Including the use of birth control pills, antibiotics, tampons, cancer treatment, pregnancy, menstruation and other medical conditions that weaken your immune system.
A diet rich in probiotics is one of the most effective prevention strategies against vaginal infections, according to Dr. Cullen. Here are some probiotic-rich products that you can use every day for gut and vaginal health.
Cultured yogurt is a great probiotic option for women who suffer from recurring vaginal infections. Even if you follow a dairy-free diet there are a number of soy and coconut alternatives like the Fruity and Creamy yogurt line from the non-dairy brand, Silk.
Cullen recommends eating one cup of your favorite cultured yogurt with some fruits and yogurt every morning for breakfast.
If yogurt isn’t your thing, you can take probiotics through oral supplements like Fem-Dophilus and FemEcology upon your doctor’s recommendation.