Vaginal health is complex and everchanging. But there’s nothing random about it. A delicate balance of bacteria is responsible for keeping things comfortable down there and where there’s bacteria, probiotics play an important role.
Probiotics and gut health go hand in hand. But the beauty of these living bacteria goes far beyond your belly. The same reasons, they’re great for your gut i.e. balancing the microbiome, relieving discomfort and promoting a healthy environment for optimal function, make them a must-have for vaginal health too.
Keep reading for an insight into the importance of vaginal health, the role of vaginal probiotics and how to care for the complexities of your vaginal microbiome with a simple daily solution.
Understanding Vaginal Health
The vagina is home to a delicate ecosystem of microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast, collectively known as the vaginal microbiota. These beneficial microorganisms help maintain a balanced vaginal pH level and prevent overgrowth of harmful bacteria or pathogens, safeguarding against infections or imbalances that cause day-to-day discomfort.
You’ve likely heard of the gut-skin connection. But did you know the vagina has its own link to the gut? Like many aspects of our wellbeing, vaginal health is influenced by the gut microbiome and the healthy balance of good bacteria in the stomach lining. Some of these beneficial bacteria travel down to the vagina to support a healthy vaginal pH balance. Essentially, an imbalance in gut flora or the microbiota, can cause an imbalance in the vaginal microbiome.
Vaginal pH and Balance
The vagina is a complex ecosystem. And just like any ecosystem, it needs to maintain a delicate balance to stay healthy. The vaginal pH refers to the level of acidity, which is usually slightly acidic between 3.8 and 4.5 on the pH scale. This acidity helps keep the bad bacteria in check and maintains a good environment for the important lactobacilli to thrive. When this pH balance gets disrupted, trouble can brew - think infections, irritation, and unpleasant odours.
Various factors can disrupt the vaginal microbiota, leading to imbalance and potential health issues. One of the primary culprits is the use of antibiotics, which can kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria in the vagina. Hygiene, sexual activity, lifestyle and diet factors such as a high-sugar diet and smoking also create fluctuations in the vaginal microbiota. Then there are hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, menopause and as a result of contraceptive use that lead to imbalance.
Probiotics for Vaginal Health
Probiotics are living beneficial bacteria that support vaginal health. Research suggests that certain strains of lactobacilli found in probiotic supplements or fermented foods help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, reduce inflammation, and even enhance the body's natural defence mechanisms against infections. As there a countless strain of probiotics, the best probiotic for vaginal health is one that contains Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri.
Vitamins for Vaginal Health
Introducing probiotics into your routine can help restore and maintain a healthy microbial balance, supporting overall vaginal health. While there are fermented foods that are rich in probiotics, a supplement makes for a convenient and bioavailable option.
Vida Glow’s Gut Pro is an evidence-based probiotic supplement made specifically for women’s health. It contains three key strains of probiotics that support both gut and vaginal microbiomes. Not only does the blend of clinically studied probiotics and active herbal extracts help to relive symptoms of bloating and digestive issues, it also works to balance female intimate microflora and maintain and healthy vaginal pH.
How to tell if something is wrong down there
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to vaginal health. So, when it comes to monitoring your own symptoms and signs that you may have an imbalance, you should start by familiarising yourself with the look, smell and behaviours of your vagina most of the time. As women, vaginal health will fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, as we age, and day-to-day based on exercise, diet and even the clothes we wear. However, it's when significant or rapid changes occur that your body may be telling you something’s not right. Look out for:
- Changes in odour or the amount of vaginal discharge
- Vaginal redness or itching
- Swelling or changes to the appearance of the labia
- Pain during intercourse or use of tampons
Despite being a complex ecosystem of bacteria, keeping your vaginal health in check doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all about balance. Balancing good lifestyle choices with a nutritious diet and using probiotics to combat the daily occurrences that disrupt balance in your vagina. Small changes will have a big impact.