Probiotics are often associated with gut health, but what a lot of people don’t know is that they can benefit the health of your entire body. Particularly for women, probiotics are extremely helpful when it comes to the health of your vagina and urinary tract. Imagine there is a constant battle between good bacteria and bad bacteria in these environments, much like the digestive tract. Both the good and bad bacteria are meant to be there, but we want the good bacteria to predominate so it keeps the bad bacteria in check. When the good bacteria are the majority, they keep the pH of the urinary tract and vagina slightly acidic – allowing these areas to remain healthy and balanced. When bad bacteria take over, uncomfortable problems can occur. The best way to prevent that from happening is to use the best probiotics available for women.
What Can Cause Bad Bacteria to Take Over?
If the environment in your urinary tract or vagina is unbalanced, you are giving harmful bacteria the opportunity to compromise your good health. That delicate balance can be thrown off by several factors:
- Weakened immune system
- Dietary choices (such as foods with excessive sugar)
- Improper cleansing methods (such as douching or cleaning from back to front)
- Antibacterial soaps
- Sexual Activity
- Age and Changes in endogenous hormone levels
These factors can upset the balance between good and bad bacteria and are often the reason a woman develops urinary tract infections (UTI) or vaginal infections, which can often become recurring issues.
Urinary Tract Infections
If you’ve ever had a UTI, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Symptoms include painful urination, increased urinary frequency and urgency, abdominal discomfort, and even fatigue. The fact that the vagina is so close to the anus is a huge reason why this is a recurring issue for women. If bacteria from the anus invades the urethra (the tube that our urine travels through to exit our body) then you are likely to develop a UTI. This can happen from wiping from back to front after using the bathroom, or even from sexual intercourse. For example, E. Coli is the most common bacteria responsible for causing urinary tract infections. E. Coli is a normal non-pathogenic bacteria often present within the GI tract, but when it invades the urinary tract and overgrows, this is when a urinary tract infection can occur.
Although there are ways to prevent UTIs, such as wiping from front to back and urinating after sexual intercourse, incidents can still happen. That’s why you need to keep your microflora in balance to help protect yourself from bad bacteria taking over.
Yeast overgrowth is another uncomfortable condition that a woman can experience when there is an imbalance in the vaginal environment and normal flora overgrows to an unhealthy level. Yeast infections can be very unpleasant. Symptoms include vaginal itching, irritation, painful urination, redness and inflammation around the vaginal opening and discomfort during sexual intercourse. To prevent yeast overgrowth, keep your vaginal environment healthy by supporting bacterial balance and a normal, healthy pH level.
Health Benefits of Probiotics for Women
If you are concerned about developing UTIs or yeast infections, then it is critical to support the health and balance of microflora in the vagina and urinary tract. One of the best ways to support healthy flora in the body, is adding ingestible oral probiotic supplements to your daily regimen. Eating probiotic-rich foods can help, but the most effective method would be to use probiotic supplements for more targeted support, since you would know what strains you are receiving. Choosing the best probiotics for women and taking them as directed will help restore your good bacterial balance and keep the bad bacteria at bay. Just as unwanted E. coli can travel from our gastrointestinal system to our urogenital system, so can the good protective bacteria. The key to balanced health is to make sure the good bacteria predominates in both locations. There are many studies to support that regular oral probiotic supplementation can regulate and improve, not only the gastrointestinal, but also the vaginal and urinary microflora environment.
The best probiotic supplements for women are the ones that help good bacteria flourish, prevent unbalanced pH levels, and fight against the painful bacterial infections that we all despise.
The Best Probiotics for Women
When you are looking for the best probiotics for women, you should look for the following strains from the Lactobacillus genus (which produce healthy lactic acid):
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus (GR-1)
- Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 (previously called L. fermentum R-14)
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus crispatus (CTV-05)
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus grasseri
- Lactobacillilus jensenii
Probiotics are remarkable supplements for everyone because of their wide range of benefits, and women’s health is an excellent example of that. If you are worried about your vaginal or urinary health, I encourage you to find the best probiotic supplement for you.