Since your algorithm knows you’re a woman, you’ve likely seen vaginal probiotics on your feeds: gummies, powders and pills that tout an end to thrush and infection. While we know vaginas are self-cleansing machines, this is one trend that could help, per experts.
First, some background…
“A healthy vagina has “good” bacteria in it,” says gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Daniela Krick. “This is called the vaginal flora or microbiome and is made up of many different types of bacteria, the predominant being .” They work to fend against microbes from outside that cause infection and microbes that reside in the vagina but multiply abnormally quickly, causing thrush or vaginosis, Dr Krick explains.
That being said, a probiotic can help – if you have a vaginal flora imbalance. It’s made of naturally-occurring , the healthy bacteria in your bod. This can help restore vaginal pH and improve the body’s natural defence against infection. “Nowadays, there is increasing evidence that probiotics are effective in assisting the treatment of bacterial vaginosis,” says Dr Krick.
Do you need vaginal probiotics?
Maybe, say the experts, if you’re prone to bacterial vaginosis or thrush. “The thinking is that introducing more of the helpful might protect against that overgrowth of harmful organisms. Consequently, this can reduce recurrent infections,” says Dr Krick. “There is some evidence that women suffering from GSM (genitourinary symptoms of menopause) may benefit from vaginal probiotics in combination with traditional local oestrogen therapy.”
Added to that, scant studies suggest that vaginal probiotics could clear out HPV infections. HPV is associated with an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
Ingredients to look out for
Studies that show the positive effects of using vaginal probiotics have specific strains that are successful. So, look out for and , says Dr Krick. Also, there are various applications, and they all work to similar effect.
Even so, chat with your doctor if you’re thinking of using a vaginal probiotic. “It is important to remember that all probiotics are live microorganisms which can have side effects such as allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset,” says Dr Krick.
Also, look for probiotic-based products that have these strains. Other products might not have the necessary ingredients that alleviate symptoms of thrush and bacterial vaginosis.
Make sure you’re safe
It’s important to not engage in other practices that could create an environment for infection. That includes:
- Long, soapy baths (it’s water full of bacteria)
- Using soaps to wash your lady parts. Only use water or a low-pH soap.
- And, practise safe sex
Try these vaginal probiotics
These probiotics contain the ingredients that have been studied and shown to produce results.
These contain the right ingredients you need to flush out irritation and infection, in a capsule.
Femina Cranberry Probiotic Capsules
Lactose-free and vegan-friendly, this capsule delivers cranberry extract and probiotics.