Jonathan Eisen Phd Microbiologist
” are allowed to live in this Never Never Land of supplements and they make claims that are scientifically unsound, if not absurd”
Jonathan Eisen, Ph.D., is a microbiologist at UCDavis who hands out an “overselling the microbiome award.” While he studies the benefits of probiotics, he’s also skeptical of the overhyped industry it’s become. “They’re sort of allowed to live in this Never Never Land of supplements and they make claims that are scientifically unsound if not absurd.”
What’s more worrying is that companies appear to be cashing in on vaginal shame by selling products for general wellness and fueling patriarchal, misogynistic expectations that normal female genital anatomy is something that needs to be fixed.
According to Eisen, much of the research on the vaginal microbiome has potential. The problem is it’s being marketed to people who don’t need it. “They’re taking people who are in a position of weakness about something whether it’s emotional or medical or whatever.”
That is, probiotic companies are taking advantage of both ubiquitous insecurities and complex vaginal conditions for which people are desperate to find solutions, driving women to try anything from putting garlic cloves straight into their private parts to soaking tampons in yogurt.
What Are The Symptoms
Lets be honest, any time we have something going on downstairs is cause for concern, but sometimes we dont know what to look for or what is going on. The following symptoms are strong indicators of BV:
- Thin, gray, white, or green vaginal discharge
- Foul or fishy smelling vaginal odor
- Vaginal itching
- Burning sensation during urination
Keep in mind that BV will present differently in each individual woman and that many women can have BV but not experience or recognize any of the signs and symptoms.
How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Work For Ph Balance
The answer is that it takes most people 2 to 3 weeks to start feeling the benefits. Its important that you have time to increase your goodbacteria count, decrease your badbacteria count, and make you feel better.
It depends on how much youre taking, how often you take it, what kind of bacteria you have in your gut, your overall health, etc. Heres what you need to know about how long it takes to get the most benefit from a Probiotic and how to make sure you dont miss out on any of the health benefits that come with taking one.
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The Role Of Beneficial Bacteria In Womens Health
Probiotics also keep the vaginal environment more acidic which helps promote favorable balance. Women who consume probiotics regularly and eat alkaline foods significantly increase their chances of normal, vaginal balance. If youre looking to add probiotics to your diet, a few of the best options include:
- Yogurt with live, active strains
How Do You Prevent Bv In The Long Term
Taking a probiotic every day can help reduce your chances of getting a BV again. Yet there are some other things you can do as well. A low sugar diet, reducing your stress, is known to reduce the chances of a vaginal imbalance.
Thus, there are a lot of things you can do, to help you prevent BV in the long term alongside taking your daily probiotic as well.
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Other Options For Yeast Infection Treatment
Especially if its your first time experiencing symptoms, speak to a gynecologist or healthcare provider to determine whether you have a yeast infection before you try any type of treatment. Many of the symptoms of a yeast infection can also occur with other types of vaginitis, and you want to be sure you use the best treatment for your condition.
Effective treatments for a yeast infection include:
- Prescription antifungal medication: These creams, ointments, pills, and suppositories come in one-day, three-day, and seven-day strengths. Note that pregnant women should not take single doses of oral medication such as fluconazole .
- OTC treatments: Over-the-counter vaginal creams and suppositories, such as miconazole , also come in one-day, three-day, and seven-day strengths. These products often have the same ingredients as prescription medications but in less concentrated amounts.
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How Common Are Yeast Infections
Approximately 75% of women will experience a vaginal yeast infection at least one time in their lives.
Research has shown that probiotics may support the natural balance of your microbiome and help with yeast infections. Probiotics contain bacteria that can help restore the balance of the vaginal microbiome. However, more research is needed to support this benefit.
Probiotics are found in fermented dairy products and foods, such as yogurt and kimchi. They also come in the form of supplements and suppositories.
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Diet For A Yeast Infection
The foods you eat may be contributing to your recurring yeast infections. Yeast loves sugar. Avoiding the following foods can curb the growth of yeast in your body.
- White flour and rice
- Foods or drinks fermented with yeast
- Foods made up of simple sugars
Although avoiding these foods may help you avoid a yeast infection, this diet can be difficult to maintain. Fortunately, you may not need to completely eliminate these foods to see positive effects in the number or severity of yeast infections you get. Cutting back in small amounts may help.
It may also help to increase your intake of healthy proteins and fats and increase your intake of low-starch fruits and vegetables. Eating a low-sugar diet doesnt mean you have to go hungry you just need to eat more from other food groups.
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Recurrence Rate As Well As Prevalence Is High
BV is caused by a shift in vaginal flora from hydrogen peroxide-producing Lactobacillus species to anaerobes that raise the vaginal pH. Multiple species of anaerobic bacteria are implicated. The drug of choice for treatment of BV continues to be metronidazole, a drug prescribed for the past 45 years with minimal resistance.3 However, there is growing resistance among Bacteroides species. Oral or intravaginal clindamycin is another option for treating BV.4
Even with the use of metronidazole, recurrence is commonwith as many as 50% of symptomatic infections recurring within a year.5 A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial published in 2006 compared the results of 1 week of oral metronidazole twice daily plus 30 days of oral probiotics vs the same dose and duration of metronidazole plus 30 days of placebo.6 The rate of recurrence at the end of 1 month was 12% in the antibiotic/probiotic group vs 60% in the antibiotic/placebo group.
The RCT reviewed here evaluated the effectiveness of a vaginal probiotic capsule in preventing recurrent BV.
Symptoms Of Bacterial Vaginosis
Some symptoms of BV may seem similar to those of a yeast infection, such as a burning sensation when you urinate or strangely colored discharge that is thicker than normal. One distinguishing factor of bacterial vaginosis is that it often is accompanied by a fishy odor. This smell may become even more potent after sexual intercourse.
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.
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How To Choose A Probiotic
When it comes to preventing and treating conditions that are more prevalent in womenincluding mastitis, urinary tract infections, and yeast infectionsyou dont have to rely on the same probiotic someone else in your family takes for digestive health.
When choosing a probiotic, its best to keep a few things in mind:
- Your health problem or issue
- Whether a probiotic has been shown to help that health problem or issue
- The products quality and formulation
Specific to women, some strains of Lactobacillus have been shown to help prevent and treat bacterial vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis, says Hannah Holscher, PhD, a registered dietitian and director of the University of Illinois Nutrition and Human Microbiome Laboratory in Urbana, Illinois.
Each strain has different probiotic health benefits, and its important to select one that has been studied in the same reference population. For example, an adult woman may not see the same health benefits of a probiotic strain that was shown to improve a health outcome in infants.
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- How to Use: Take 2 capsules daily with or without food. No refrigeration required.
- How it Works: Good Girl Probiotics helps to maintain a balanced vaginal pH and healthy levels of vaginal yeast.* This unique, gynecologist-recommended probiotic helps supports 3 key areas: reproductive health organs, the gut, and the immune system.*
- A Probiotic Designed for Vaginal Health: Good Girl Probiotics by Love Wellness helps to maintain vaginal and urinary tract health while supporting normal vaginal pH levels.* Our formula contains 8 strains of probiotics most only contain 1!* Serving size 2 capsules, 30 servings per bottle.
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Data Extraction And Management
Two review authors, LM and ZZ, will independently assess and extract the study data according to a data extraction form that includes basic details , participant details , diagnostic standards and intervention details and outcomes . Extracted data will be checked by WS and disagreements will be resolved through discussion. If necessary, a further reviewer, JS, will provide the final judgement.
Is There Anything I Should Take Or Do To Ensure My Vaginal Microbiome Is Healthy
In the future, there may be research-backed ways to strengthen the vaginas bacterial defenses, possibly by combining effective probiotics with antibiotics or even by performing vaginal microbiome transplants.
But for now, experts simply dont know enough about the vaginal microbiome to be able to reliably shift it in the direction of better health. So while vaginal probiotics are unlikely to hurt you, they also arent likely to help you whether you have an infection or not. And unless youre actively ailing, the best way to maintain optimal feminine balance is also the simplest: Dont do anything special. And certainly dont spend money on unproven treatments for your most intimate of landscapes.
Women have enough things in this world to worry about, Dr. Hillier said. The bottom line is that its the doorway to your reproductive tract. Treat it with respect, and love it.
Rachel E. Gross is a science writer based in Brooklyn and the author of Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage.
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Vaginal Concerns Related To Microbiomes
Its estimated that about 100 trillion microbes are found inside the human body, with many of them residing in our gut.
But there are also more than 50 different microbes that live inside of your . Researchers are just beginning to study the connection between the gut microbiome and vaginal microbiome, says Dr. Goje.
Vaginal imbalances can lead to bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
These imbalances can be caused by:
Risk Of Bias Assessment
Two independent reviewers, WS and LM, will apply the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool to assess random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding of participants, clinicians and outcome assessment. In addition, we have assessed the incomplete outcome data, selective reporting, funding and potential for conflict of interest associated with the individual trials. The risk of bias will be rated using predetermined criteria as follows: low, high or unclear.
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How Do You Know If Probiotics Are Working
When you take a high-quality probiotic supplement, you may notice a number of positive changes in your body, from improved digestion and more energy to improved mood and clearer skin. The first and most immediate change that people notice is a reduction in gas and bloating. This is because the probiotics in the supplement are helping to break down the bad bacteria in our intestines, allowing the good bacteria to take over.
How to Take a High-Quality Probiotic Supplement The best way to get the most out of your supplements is to make sure youre getting the right type of bacteria for your specific needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a supplement: Choose a product that has been tested and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be safe and effective for you and your family.
If you have any concerns about the product, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking it. Its also a good idea to read the ingredients on the label to see if there are any ingredients that could be harmful to you or your children, such as artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or artificial sweeteners.
How Long Do Probiotics Take To Cure Bv
According to a review carried out at the alfa institute of biomedical sciences in marousi, greece, the use of pessaries for 6 to 12 days or tablets for 2 months can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , found that people who took probiotics for at least 6 months had a 30 per cent lower chance of developing colon cancer than those who did not take the supplements. However, the researchers cautioned that more research was needed to confirm the findings.
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Probiotics That Are Suited For Bv
Whilst you are looking at all of these probiotics to help combat BV, you need to make sure that they contain the good kinds of probiotics that you need.
You want to add more friendly bacteria to help combat the imbalance. Scientists are aware that there are different probiotics that all do different things.
Some of the better strains to keep an eye on include:
- Lactobacillus plantarum FV9,
- Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-14,
- Lactobacillus crispatus CTV-05.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 are known to already exist in a healthy vaginal microbiome.
Then Lactobacillus brevis FV2, Lactobacillus salivarius CD2, and Lactobacillus plantarum FV9, all relieve symptoms that have been caused by BV.