Essentially, probiotics are a form of bacteria whose main benefits include improving the health of the digestive tract. And even though the usage of a word like “bacteria” may put many people off, rest assured: probiotics are what could be called “good” or “friendly” bacteria, and providing our organism with a healthy dose of them can change our life for the better in many ways. They play a very important role in the smooth development and functioning of our bodies throughout our whole lives.
Probiotics are particularly effective in maintaining women’s health. But how do probiotics help women’s health? Well, for one they metabolize and recycle hormones such as estrogen, phytoestrogens and thyroid hormones. A proper hormonal balance is very important for a healthy, happy life. Hormonal imbalances are to blame for many womanly misfortunes, such as undesired pimples, mood swings, irritability and unpleasant mammary and abdominal discomfort.
But besides hormones, probiotics help women in another area: vaginal health. The vaginal tract should have an optimally flourishing probiotic population, thus assuring vaginal health. When there is a disturbance in this flora, problems such as Candida albicans, commonly known as yeast infection, vaginitis, urinary tract infections and bacterial vaginosis may appear. The use of probiotic supplements has also been proven to reduce bladder infections, which can also appear via the vaginal route.
Candida albicans is perhaps the most frequently-encountered issues out of the bunch. Normally, it is a harmless yeast bacterium that resides in our intestines. But when our inner ecosystem is disrupted by antibiotics, birth control pills and various other chemicals, it multiplies really fast and produces a huge imbalance. At the level of the vagina, this infections manifests itself with symptoms such as redness, dryness, itchiness and thick, white secretions. It can also appear on the skin or tongue in the form of a white-yellow film. Unfortunately, around 80% of women reportedly have unhealthy vaginal floras. This is largely because of the lack of education on this subject. Even though we are living in a modern day and age, the subject of vaginal health, and vaginas in general is still considered quite taboo by most educational institutions and families alike.
Luckily for us, probiotics are a viable option in the treatment of Candida albicans infections. Some of their more effective strains, such as Lactobacillus, can be found as active ingredients in pharmaceutical women’s health products such as vaginal pills or locally applied ointments. Moreover, a diet that is rich in probiotic foods can also favor vaginal health and prevent further yeast infections. These beneficial gut bacteria can be found in many fermented foods, but it is very important to choose the ones containing active cultures in order to get long-term results. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut and miso soup are great options that will not only give diversity to your diet, but also help your health in this respect.
If you are experiencing any of the signs of a Candida albicans infection, go see your gynecologist immediately. Your doctor will always help you determine an appropriate treatment plan that will suit your needs and help you in the most effective manner.