How do probiotics affect vaginal health?


Quick Answer

Probiotics help to protect the vagina against bacterial infections and pathogens, according to Life Extension Magazine. They also inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that cause yeast and bacterial infections in the vaginal region.

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Full Answer

Specific strains of probiotics, such as lactobacillus, have been known to work as a disinfectant, which helps to maintain the proper pH balance of “good bacteria” in the vagina, according to Life Extension Magazine. These strains of good bacteria also produce lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and bacteriocins, which stop the growth of the bacteria that cause vaginosis. Furthermore, since there is such a high prevalence of urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections among women, probiotics can be used as preventative medicine against these infections as well.

Scientists have shown that the acid-loving bacteria known as acidophilus provide protection against the overgrowth of “bad bacteria” as well as the yeast that cause infections and odor, according to Life Extension Magazine. Lactobacillus, on the other hand, helps to maintain a healthy level of good bacteria within the vaginal region when taken orally.

Further research also indicates that lactobacillus inhibits the growth of candida and gardnerella bacteria, and women with high levels of lactobacillus in the vagina are far less likely to develop yeast infections, according to Life Extension Magazine. These studies indicate that taking probiotics orally for 28 days can restore the good bacteria to normal levels. They can be taken in pill form or eaten in food like yogurt, but the women in the studies were taking about 500 milligrams of probiotics twice a day to get results.

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