When To See A Doctor
Usually, conditions caused by vaginal imbalance are mild to moderate, and dont cause severe health problems. However, BV and yeast infections can cause serious discomfort if left untreated. And you should always seek quick treatment for a UTI to avoid possible complications.
If youve recently had sex and notice itching, burning or other unusual symptoms in your vaginal area, you should also talk with your doctor. You could have a sexually transmitted infection, such as trichomoniasis.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you have BV, a yeast infection, or a UTI. Seek immediate medical treatment if you have:
- pain on your sides or lower back
- a high temperature
Getting Back In Balance
Experts say no conclusive evidence shows that probiotics are effective at preventing and treating BV or other conditions related to vaginal imbalance. Currently, antibiotics remain the recommended treatment for these conditions.
As its important to get a proper diagnosis and treat underlying causes, the recommendation to take a probiotic in supplement form should be made by the healthcare provider only after a complete assessment and proper diagnosis of the condition is made, says Haar.
What Do Probiotics Improve
It’s important to note that probiotic benefits are strain-specific. So, before picking a probiotic to use for a particular ailment, ensure that you’re getting the right one. Probiotics are sold as health supplements, which means they aren’t regulated. While they aren’t all bad, some aren’t entirely trustworthy either, so research before you buy.
Lactobacillus is the most commonly used strain in probiotic supplements. It’s most frequently used to help with intestinal issues, though it has applications in treating other conditions as well.
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The Risks Of Probiotics
The FDA doesnât regulate probiotics that are sold as dietary supplements. That means their labels can make claims about whats in them and how they work that may not be true. So itâs best to be cautious. We need more research on how safe probiotics are. But scientists say they may have some harmful effects, including:
- Unlisted ingredients that could pose health risks
- Unsafe substances made by probiotic microorganisms
Your risk of harmful side effects is higher if you have a serious illness or problems with your immune system.
Should I Take Probiotics Every Day
Is it safe to take probiotic pills every day? This is a popular question concerning probiotics. While there are a few exceptions to this rule, the overall response is that taking them everyday is safe and typically encouraged. Its important to remember that probiotics are a natural supplement, not a drug.
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Sorting Facts About Probiotics From Fiction
Vaginal probiotics are touted as a way to introduce live microorganisms into your vagina to improve health. Its true that your vagina, like your digestive tract, is teeming with beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms. When it comes to vaginal health, some common gynecological conditions are thought to be caused by an imbalance of bacteria inside the vagina. More often than not, when women seek out probiotics, theyre doing it in an attempt to ease discomfort caused by two of them: bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection, says Dr. Mitchell.
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. Theres still a lot that experts dont understand about the condition, but it is associated with an overgrowth of harmful microorganisms , which outnumber healthier types of vaginal bacteria, including a common organism called Lactobacillus.
Vaginal yeast infection also stems from an imbalance in the vagina. But in this condition, the problem is a fungus called Candida, which overcomes healthy bacteria. Candida can exist normally in the vagina without any problem, but may cause trouble if it outnumbers other microorganisms.
For now, the only proven treatments for bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection are antibiotic or antifungal treatments, says Dr. Mitchell.
Balancing The Intestinal Ecosystem
Although the vast majority of existing clinical trials indicate that probiotic doses of 10-20 billion CFU per day are sufficient for maintaining immune and digestive health, research studies examining the dose-response of larger CFUs and products featuring CFUs of 50 to 100 billion are becoming increasingly common.6,7 While it may be tempting to assume that a larger CFU automatically translates to greater probiotic benefits, this is not necessarily the case for every individual or health indication.8,9
One of the mechanisms of probiotic therapy is restoration of intestinal balance by replacing harmful microbes with more favorable ones. Because not everyone needs very large amounts of probiotic bacteria to achieve this, regularly providing the body with a moderate infusion of high-quality bacteria may represent a more biologically meaningful approach to health maintenance than overwhelming the gut microbiota ecosystem with more bacteria than is needed.
Thus, for individuals in relatively good health, a daily dose of 10-20 billion CFU is likely sufficient for supporting everyday immune and digestive support.
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Bacterial Vaginosis Vs Yeast Infection
Despite the fact that yeast infections are talked about much more, they are the second most common cause of vaginal symptoms, beat out only by bacterial vaginosis.
So whats the difference between the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis and a yeast infection?
Common symptoms of a yeast infection include itchiness or burning in or around the vagina, and a white discharge that often looks like cottage cheese. This discharge is typically odorless and might have a yeasty smell .
This differs from the thin consistency and strong fishy odor of the discharge associated with bacterial vaginosis.
Of course, the best thing to do if you have any of these symptoms is to visit your healthcare provider who can perform an exam and testing to determine which of these infections you might have.
A List Of Probiotic Foods
There are a number of ways you can get probiotics besides the consumption of yogurt. Other fermented or cultured probiotic foods, according to Harvard Health Publishing, include:
- Soy beverages
NIH adds kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles and raw unfiltered apple cider to the list. Probiotics may also come in the form of a dietary supplement. If youre wondering whether to use probiotic supplements vs. yogurt for your probiotics intake, there are a few things to consider.
While yogurt mainly contains two strains of bacteria: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, supplements usually contain a mixture of bacteria. Whether you take a supplement, may depend on what type of bacteria you need and why youre taking it. A word of caution against supplements: not all probiotics supplements have been backed by research, so it may take some researching and investigating on your own when choosing the right supplement.
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Should I Take Probiotics Daily
The short answer is yes, you should be taking probiotics daily. However, if you are consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, cheese, and fermented foods like kimchi daily, you may not need to take a probiotic every day. If your diet limits your intake of probiotics, such as a dairy-free diet, then we recommend that you do take a probiotic supplement daily.
Probiotic Dosage For Adults
As with anything you take to improve your health, dosage is important. If you take too much, you may cause new problems, and too little won’t do anything at all.
There’s a common misconception that probiotics should be taken every day, according to an article published in May 2016 by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Probiotics are a tool that can be helpful when trying to improve certain conditions typically related to the gastric system, but are not a daily supplement.
There is still a need for a lot more research on the microbiome of the gut. Because of the lack of deeper information, we don’t know what the optimum balance is for bacteria in the stomach.
While you can find recommended dosages for adults with different ailments, it’s best to talk to a doctor about the right dosage for you. Only a physician who has examined you will be able to determine what your health needs or to provide your specific dosage amounts.
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Probiotics And Side Effects
If you are a healthy person, you likely won’t have many, if any, negative side effects from taking probiotics. The only adverse effect you might experience is gas, which is a sign that you’re taking too much. For people with certain health complications taking probiotics can lead to more severe complications. So, as always, talk to your doctor before you start taking these supplements.
Of particular concern are those with compromised immune systems. An April 2019 article published by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy indicates that cancer patients taking probiotics have poorer immune systems and recovery rates.
The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine also noted the poor reactions between probiotics and immunosuppressant medications. Overall, this further provides evidence that you need to confirm with your doctor that taking probiotics will benefit you.
There still needs to be additional research on the safety of probiotics. Unfortunately, the focuses of most studies have been their impact on different ailments. While these benefits are essential to prove or disprove, there hasn’t been enough investigation into possible adverse reactions.
What Is The Womens Probiotic For Bacterial Vaginosis
Sorry if youre perplexed. I know its not an easy choice! But its one of the most crucial choices youll ever make. If youre still unsure which type of womens probiotic for bacterial vaginosis is best for you, I recommend comparing the characteristics and functionalities of the womens probiotic for bacterial vaginosis listed above. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
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Different Cfus For Different Needs
As with most supplements and drugs, there is a large dose range over which probiotics are clinically effective, and higher dosages may be advisable for certain individuals and health conditions.1012 For example, research suggests that supplementing with a high CFU may be beneficial for people whove experienced a significant alteration to their gut microbiome due to illness, use of antibiotics, or other lifestyle factors.5,13
Adding to the complexity of dosing, research studies show that different health conditions can respond differently to different probiotic strains and dosages. For some health conditions, a lower dose may work as well or even better than a higher dose, whereas for other health conditions, higher amounts are necessary to provide a clinical effect.7,10,1418 More and better studies investigating the dose-response relation of probiotics for different health conditions can further inform our understanding of optimal dosing.
Swansons Probiotics For Daily Wellness
Image courtesy Swanson
Hectic lives can all team up to disrupt your natural balance. Supportive supplements such as Probiotic for Daily Wellness by Swanson Health help support general health with a higher population density in beneficial strains which will help restore harmony throughout your entire body.
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Garden Of Life Doctor Formulated Probiotics
Image courtesy Garden of Life
Formulated by America’s Brain-Health Expert, a board-certified Neurologist who is also an expert on the human microbiome. This unique formula provides high counts of beneficial probiotics made from diverse strains that are resistant to stomach acid and bile so as not only support womens systems but their immune response too!
What To Look For
In the United States, probiotics are classified as dietary supplements. Under this classification, the products are not strictly regulated and are allowed to be sold without the burden of clinical research. With that being said, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration forbids manufacturers making any claims that the products can cure, treat, or prevent any disease or health condition.
To ensure quality and safety, only buy supplements that have tested and certified by an independent certifying body like the U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab, or NSF International.
When used as a food ingredient, probiotics fall under the FDA umbrella category “GRAS,” meaning they are “generally regarded as safe.”
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Promoting Better Gut Health
Maintaining a healthy gut is about more than just a healthy diet and ensuring you eat your five a day. Studies show that probiotics can help with maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract. This can contribute to keeping common GI illnesses at bay. If you suffer with bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, finding the right probiotic could help you get things under control.8
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Description Of The Condition
Bacterial vaginosis is a highly prevalent vaginal polymicrobial disorder, affecting 5%58% women of childbearing age in different parts of the world. Whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, BV increases the risks for pelvic inflammatory disease, subsequent infertility and preterm delivery, sexually transmitted infections and HIV transmission. Previous studies have shown that a complex and high population of the lactobacilli in vaginal microbiota are regarded as protective against BV, which is typified by a profound overgrowth of vaginal anaerobic bacteria.
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What Is The Correct Probiotic Dosage
Lets use some of the strains in the Happy V ® probiotic to better understand dosing.
The required dosing ranges from .5 Billion to 10 Billion . Its imperative not to solely focus on the probiotic total count, meaning: dont just pay attention to the front of the label.
Consider and make sure you read the back of the label, where the really juicy information is, going line by line to make sure youre getting the right amount of probiotics for each strain based on clinical research.
Antibiotic Bv Treatment Often Leads To Recurring Bv
The typical treatment for BV is antibiotics, and there are a variety of reliable antibiotic combinations that eliminate BV.
The problem is that the BV often comes back! Post-antibiotic recurrence of BV is almost expected. So far, doctors havent found a combination of antibiotics that always prevents BV from returning. This reinfection after antibiotic BV treatment has led scientists and many women to try probiotics to BV for goodand to have a lower chance of BV regrowth.
Probiotics are considered safe and should probably be taken both during antibiotic treatment, and after antibiotics, since they help maintain or regrow normal healthy bacteria after theyve been wiped out by the antibiotics.
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Understanding A Probiotic Cultures Name
When you look at a probiotic supplement label, youll often notice multiple lactobacillus species in the same formula. We dont want you to feel overwhelmed by this!
Every probiotic culture can be broken down into three elements: the genus, species, and strain.
Happy V ® contains the probiotic Lactobacillus Acidophilus LA-14 ®
Lactobacillus is the genus, acidophilus is the species, and LA-14 ® is the strain.
Do I Need Probiotics For Ph Balance
Different areas of the human body have their own pH balance, including your blood, skin and reproductive system.
You may have seen products claiming to help balance the pH of your vagina. So, is vaginal pH balance something you need to be concerned about?
Your vaginal pH levels play a role in preventing infections, supporting healthy pregnancies and any hormonal changes.
How acidic a substance is runs from 0 to 14. A pH of less than 7 is considered acidic, and a pH of more than 7 is basic. Maintaining a normal vaginal pH greater than 4.5 could help achieve a balanced vaginal environment and prevent recurrent BV.
Turning to probiotics may help with your vaginal pH balance.
Probiotics, or lactobacillus found in probiotics, produce lactic acid which subsequently produces hydrogen peroxide, says Dr. Goje. Production of hydrogen peroxide contributes to a healthy vagina, establishing defense against pathogens.
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What Exactly Is Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal condition that creates a grey and watery discharge, which can smell unpleasant. It caused by an overgrowth of bad bacteria, known as pathogens.
In the same way that our gut microbiome is made up of a mixture of friendly probiotic bacteria, and a small number of harmful pathogenic bacteria, so too is the vaginal microbiome. When pathogens outnumber good bacteria in any microbiome, it is known as dysbiosis, which can lead to infection. You may like to read more about gut dysbiosis and how to address it in the article what is dysbiosis?
If you are diagnosed with BV, it is likely that your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. This may bring temporary relief however, over time the antibiotics can actually make dysbiosis worse. Read our article about taking probiotics with antibiotics.
BV is usually caused by an overgrowth of Gardnerella vaginalis, though Prevotella, Mycoplasma hominis, and Mobiluncus can also be implicated in BV infections. A healthy vagina contains plenty of bacteria from the Lactobacillus genus. Read this article to find out more about Lactobacillus.
Women are often unaware that they have BV, as in 50% of cases it does not produce symptoms. However, if left untreated it can lead to other complications, such as reduced fertility, increased risk of miscarriage, and reduced birthweights when pregnancy does occur.
Probiotics: How Many Billion Cfu Do I Need To Maintain Daily Digestive Health
- The right dose of probiotics will depend on several factorsmost notably, an individuals purpose for taking probiotics
- A daily dose of 10-20 billion CFU is advisable for individuals seeking everyday immune and digestive support
- For some health indications, higher doses of probiotics may have a greater clinical benefit than lower doses
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How Do These Probiotics Help
Probiotics are packed full of healthy bacteria that not only help your GI tract, but also your vagina. Studies have shown that when taken, probiotics will improve symptoms for those who already have a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
Probiotics are also able to prevent a potential infection. These bacteria work to balance out the pH level of the vagina, which makes for a healthy and hospitable environment.
What Is A Probiotic Species
Different probiotic species are genetically different subsets of bacteria that still fall under the same genus. As a result, they will have different therapeutic benefits for different parts of the body.
Lets go back to the example of dogs. Compare a labrador to a chihuahua: they are two different species of dogs but are still in the same genus that dogs fall under. Although you know that labradors and chihuahuas are different, they are still dogs.
The most common species that youll come across are L. Acidophilus, L. Rhamnosus, L. Reuteri, L. Crispatus, B. Breve, and B. Coagulans all species that can be found in Happy V ® probiotic.
The most important species when it comes to vaginal wellness will be Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which makes up 95% of the flora in the vagina.
On food and supplement labels, probiotics are normally listed in the following format: species initial is first, followed by the entire strain name. So, Lactobacillus Acidophilus will just be L. Acidophilus.
Now that you know how to identify probiotics components, you will be able to look for the right species for your health. But, it doesnt end there.
Have you ever picked up a probiotic supplement and seen next to the species a bunch of letters and numbers and wondered what they meant? Those letters and numbers are the most important part when choosing a high-quality product and theres a reason why.
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