Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria that are present in yogurt. A lot have been written about the benefits of probiotics for our digestive and intestinal health. But researchers and doctors have now started looking into the benefits of probiotics on the vaginal health of women. Folk medicines and traditional remedies have always been known for prescribing probiotics for treating vaginal infections. Now western medicine is also catching up to that trend and finding out more and more about it. Folk wisdom is finally being recognized by the western medicine in this aspect.
Research And More
A study was recently published in the Journal of Family Practice. The research claimed that probiotics present in yogurt can help in reducing the recurrence of a commonly occurring vaginal infection, bacterial vaginosis (BV). Probiotics present in yogurt are the same bacteria that are found in some vaginal suppositories which also help in preventing recurrence of bacterial vaginosis.
According to an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Bastyr University Dr. Laurie Cullen, there is a lack of information in this topic as there is a dearth of peer-reviewed researches about the use of probotics for maintaining a healthy vagina. And it is a logical idea to use useful bacteria to get rid of harmful ones. Dr. Cullen explains, “the vaginal ecosystem is very sensitive.” The vagina is populated with many beneficial strains of Lactobacilli which can thrive at a pH level of 4.2. Certain external factors can increase the pH level of the vagina which can lead to an increase in the population of various other bacteria causing bacterial vaginosis. Many other factors can cause a dip in the pH level which can lead to fungal infections in the vagina due to an overgrowth of strains of yeast like Candida albicans.
Factors Affecting The Vaginal pH
There are many things that can affect the pH level of the vagina. External factors like antibiotics, oral steroids, birth control pills, spermicidal contraceptives, sex, periods, use of sanitary products like tampons, pregnancy and menopause are all capable of altering the vaginal pH. Medical conditions like diabetes or cancer can also compromise the immune system responsible for maintaining a healthy vagina.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Taking preventive actions to safeguard our vaginas can save us a lot of pain later. Women who want to have a healthy vagina can safeguard themselves with various safe and natural preventive techniques. Dr. Cullen suggests that women can buy any type of probiotics that they want, as long as they contain a mix of different strains of bacteria. According to Dr. Cullen, women should avoid buying probiotics that contains only one strain of bacteria, especially acidophillus. Acidophillus is a strain of bacteria found in cow’s milk. Acidophillus helps in maintaining good vaginal health in cows. But it is useless alone when it comes to maintaining good vaginal health in women. So, women should go for products that contain a mix of various strains of probiotics.
Preventive Techniques For A Healthy Vagina
1. Probiotic Yogurt
Dr. Cullen suggests that women should have one serving of yogurt daily for maintaining good vaginal health. Women who like milk products can go for basic flavors. Women can also go for yogurt made from soy milk with live cultures.
2. Oral Supplements Of Probiotics
There are many oral probiotics that are available in the market these days. Women can go for such over-the-counter probiotics as these products are just as beneficial.
3. Vaginal Moisturizers
External factors like sex can alter the pH balance of the vagina. Hence, using a vaginal moisturizer is a good way of protecting the natural pH. Semen has a pH of 7.1 to 8.0. Thus, applying vaginal moisturizer before and after sex is a good way of protecting the pH of the vagina.
The vagina, like all other parts of the body, requires care and nourishment. So, take care of your vagina with good hygienic practices, preventive techniques and good nourishment.