Probiotics have been studied to promote gut health, boost the immune system, and treat different bacterial infections. In some of its studies, probiotics were observed to bring about promising results in treating vaginosis – a common infection in women during their reproductive years.
Let us learn more about probiotics for vaginosis.
Table of Contents
- What is vaginosis
- What are the symptoms of vaginosis
- How is vaginosis diagnosed
- How do you treat vaginosis
- Probiotics for vaginosis evidence
- How to prevent vaginosis
What is vaginosis
Vaginosis, also known as bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by a bacterial imbalance in the female organ. It can affect women of any age, but it is more likely to occur during their reproductive years.
There can be many causes for the imbalance, but some are not clearly defined. The following are the most common causes of vaginal bacterial imbalance:
- unprotected intercourse with a male partner;
- hormonal changes;
- period; and
- poor hygiene habits.
Other factors that may increase the risk of vaginosis include douching and the natural lack of Lactobacillus. Wearing underwear that is not as breathable as cotton may also cause bacterial imbalance.
What are the symptoms of vaginosis
While some women do not exhibit signs of BV, some vaginal symptoms may include the following:
- Thin discharge that is usually white or gray;
- Pain, itching, burning, or other discomfort;
- Foul fish-like odor, especially after intercourse; and
- Burning feeling while urinating.
How is vaginosis diagnosed
It is best to consult a specialist if you suspect you have vaginosis. When left untreated, it can cause complications like higher chances of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases, premature delivery when you are pregnant, and difficulty conceiving a baby when you are planning to have one.
During the appointment, the doctor may perform a physical examination to see signs of infection. The doctor may also take a sample of vaginal secretion, test vaginal acidity (pH), and ask questions about any history of related infections.
How do you treat vaginosis
Common treatments for vaginosis include oral medications like Metronidazole and Tinidazole and creams like Clindamycin.
Healthline also shares alternative home remedies that may help treat vaginosis. These include yogurt, probiotic supplements, garlic supplements, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, and boric acid capsules.
Other things you can do to hasten the treatment of vaginosis include avoiding the use of tight pants and using cotton underwear. Doing these avoid trapping moisture that can increase bad bacteria.
Probiotics for vaginosis evidence
Many studies have shown that probiotics can be used in treating and even preventing BV. Probiotics may be in the form of food (yogurt), capsule, and vaginal suppositories.
A certain study showed that lactobacillus probiotics applied either in-vitro or orally increased the production of certain good bacteria, such as lactic acid. This inhibited the growth of the bacteria that causes BV, restored the bacterial balance, and cured the infection.
Other similar small studies have also shown the same observations. One study showed that the cure rate was greater when antibiotic treatment was supplemented with probiotics in comparison with antibiotics-plus-placebo treatment.
In terms of prevention, a study observed that women who ate yogurt that contains lactobacillus acidophilus were less likely to get infected with BV than women who did not consume the same.
How to prevent vaginosis
To avoid being infected with vaginosis, consider the following tips:
- Avoid douching as it may disrupt vaginal bacterial balance and cause infections. Instead, simply wash it water alone or with a very mild soap.
- Avoid using irritants like scented pads, scented tampons, and fragrant soaps.
- Use a condom during intercourse and limit the number of your partners. Better yet, abstain from intercourse to avoid infections.
- Practice good hygiene, such as wiping from front to back after using the bathroom and changing your pads or tampons frequently during the day.
- Take probiotics, such as probiotic supplement capsules and yogurts.
- Wear cotton underwear, which is more breathable than other fabrics like spandex, which trap moisture and increase harmful bacteria.
- Avoid wearing tight pants that also trap in moisture.
Vaginosis bacterial infection can cause very uncomfortable symptoms like discharge, pain, and burning feeling. The good thing is that is can be treated with medicines and alternative treatments like probiotics. It can also be prevented by practicing safe intercourse and good hygiene.
Vaginosis can result in complications when left untreated. If you suspect you have it, consult your doctor right away.