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The 5 W’s of Vaginal Probiotics

The 5 W’s of Vaginal Probiotics


The majority of women only seek health information about their vaginas when they encounter an issue. While it’s common knowledge to take Vitamin-C to help support the immune system and help prevent the onset of a cold, most women aren’t aware that probiotics exist to support vaginal health and prevent issues/imbalances from arising. And, if you have heard of feminine probiotics, confusion continues to exist as to why you’d want to take them or where to begin.

To help you out, we asked Lauren Streicher, MD,  the five W’s of vaginal probiotics – Who should seek them out, What they do, When to take them, Where to find them, and Why you’ll benefit from incorporating it into your health routine.

DO YOU ENDO: Who should take vaginal probiotics? 

Dr. Streicher: “Bacteria or yeast related problems can affect every woman throughout the life cycle.”

DO YOU ENDO: What do vaginal probiotics do? 

Dr. Streicher:  “The presence of bacteria in itself is not a problem, All areas of the body are populated by bacteria which function to help you break down food, aid your immune system and supplement your health in important ways. Infection with a pathogenic bacteria or overgrowth of a non-pathogenic bacteria can be problematic, and increase the risk of unpleasant symptoms or infection.”

“Probiotics can help keep your body balanced, and prevent many medical conditions which is why the number of probiotics for digestive health has boomed over the last few years and science is only beginning to understand the complex relationship our bodies have with beneficial bacteria in other parts of the body.”

“Vaginal probiotics provide probiotic lactobacillus that works with your body to balance vaginal yeast and bacteria. In order to increase the effectiveness a probiotic should:

  • Contain live active cultures and
  • Contain a strain specific to the vagina.

Many products on the market claim to contain probiotics, Lactobacillus, and acidophilus. Some products contain probiotic strains that are designed to promote digestive, immunity or other health benefits but are not specific to vaginal health. It is important to understand the features of these products so that you know if what you are taking is actually beneficial to your overall vaginal health.”

DO YOU ENDO: How does a woman know when she should take vaginal probiotics?

Dr. Streicher:  “Women can incorporate a vaginal probiotic into their daily health routine if they have a tendency to develop vaginal infections.”

DO YOU ENDO: Where’s the best place to find vaginal probiotics? 

Dr. Streicher:  “For years, many women have tried various lactobacillus supplements (i.e. acidophilus) and yogurts in an effort to help with vaginal issues. One of the biggest myths about vaginal health is that yogurt dipped tampons will help to prevent or treat yeast infections. Yes, lactobacilli are good for your vagina, but the strain of lactobacilli in yogurt is not the same strain of lactobacilli that populate a healthy vagina.”

“Multiple studies have confirmed that putting yogurt in the vagina does not work. (Some studies have even shown that there are yogurts that claim to contain lactobacilli and may not have them at all.) So, your best bet for obtaining the correct strains of lactobacilli is to take a product that contains specific strains known to support vaginal health. One oral supplement, RepHresh Pro-B, contains two patented and clinically tested strains of probiotic lactobacillus that have been shown to maintain vaginal health.”

DO YOU ENDO: Why will our readers benefit from taking vaginal probiotics? 

Dr. Streicher:  “Everyday occurrences like taking oral antibiotics, the menstrual cycle, sexual activity, exercise, and swimming, can upset the natural balance of yeast and bacteria that live in the vagina. Hormonal changes like pregnancy, menopause, and your normal monthly cycle can also alter vaginal pH.”

“Vaginal yeast counts have been shown to fluctuate over a given month, even if no symptoms are experienced. According to the CDC, 85 percent of women with BV (bacterial vaginosis), caused by bacterial imbalance, experience no symptoms at all. This can lead to more serious issues like infertility, and if you’re pregnant, an increased risk of miscarriage and preterm birth.”

“Optimum vaginal health occurs when there is a healthy balance of lactobacillus, yeast, and other bacteria. When taken daily, the probiotic strains in Pro-B are shown to introduce beneficial bacteria into the vagina, promote and sustain healthy vaginal flora, and functions as a preventative to help ward off yeast and bacterial vaginal infections.”

Lauren Streicher, MD, is the Medical Director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause and Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University. Check out Dr. Streicher’s blog, When Your Vagina’s in a pHunk.

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