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What Are The Best Probiotics For Women In 2022?

Taking probiotics is advantageous to most people, but for women, in particular, it holds more special importance. Probiotics are essential for women because several things may disrupt your microbiome (gut system) balance. Because women are more likely to experience irritable bowel syndrome than men, and with inflammatory bowel disease being diagnosed at a rate of 2:1 in women compared with men, women are more likely to be prescribed probiotics to help promote a healthy digestive system.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that naturally live in our bodies. (1)

You probably have an adverse reaction when you hear Bacteria, and most people think of something that makes you sick. However, you have two kinds of bacteria in and on your body — good and bad. Probiotics are good bacteria that help keep your body healthy. This good bacteria helps in several ways, including helping you feel better, boosting nutrient absorption and immune function, regulating mental health, and fighting off harmful bacteria when there is an imbalance. 

Studies have also shown that a healthy gut microbiome can decrease gut wall permeability, which prevents harmful bacteria from traveling through the gut into the bloodstream. (2)

For a microbe to be named a probiotic, it must possess several features, including:

  1. You can safely consume them.
  2. Be isolated from a human.
  3. Have a proven benefit to you.
  4. They survive in your intestine after ingestion (being eaten).

Where do beneficial probiotics (microbes) live in my body? Your body contains Probiotics in not only in your gut but several other locations:

  • Vagina
  •  Mouth.
  •  Skin
  •  Urinary tract.
  •  Lungs.

Why Probiotics Are ImportnatTo Women 

Helps boost vaginal health

Studies have shown that strains of Lactobacilli, a particular type of probiotic seen in most probiotic foods, help prevent and treat vaginal infections. It helps keep the harmful bacterias that cause infection at bay. The three common vaginal infections are Vaginal candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis. In addition, changes in the vagina often allow the growth of other infections, which, when left untreated, can affect your reproductive health and fertility outcomes. (3) Bacterial vaginosis can be problematic as it can cause pregnancy complications and pelvic inflammatory diseases.

So, what signs show you have a vagina yeast infection before considering taking a probiotic? You may experience :

  •  Burning
  •  Redness
  •  Whitish discharge 
  •  Itching
  •  Pain during sex
  • Pain when urinating

Enhances Immunity 

If you’re a woman, you’re more likely to have a Urinary tract infection(UTIs) than men due to the closeness of the vaginal opening and the anus. This increases the chances of contaminating the vagina with bacteria from the rectum. Taking a probiotic suppository can help rebalance the vaginal microbiome and clear infections and will also be helpful after you complete a course of antibiotics. After taking antibiotics, your body’s flora is often imbalanced. 

Menopause 

It is common for some women to experience undesirable symptoms during menopause. Symptoms can include night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. The flora of your vagina changes during menopause, which indicates a decrease in lactobacilli levels. While studies show that menopause symptoms are linked to the decline in lactobacilli, women taking probiotics containing lactobacillus acidophilus tend to have less severe symptoms (4)

Healthy Skin

Probiotics help to maintain an overall healthy flora of microorganisms in your body, and a good number of them can prevent microorganisms that cause conditions from overgrowth or skin irritation. 

They are good for your gut.

Studies suggest women’s gastrointestinal systems are slower than men’s, which increases the risk for digestive issues. A probiotic can enhance a healthy gut microbiome and support a healthy digestive system.

Weight Loss

One of the possible ways probiotics can aid in weight management is by inducing the hormone leptin. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite. 

Sleep

Your sleep duration and quality are affected by many factors, and menopause can be one of those(5). If you are sleep deprived, studies show that your body contains more microorganisms that cause disturbance to your sleep patterns. Taking probiotics can allow a diverse gut flora to prevent the overgrowth of these sleep-disruptive microorganisms by creating effective competition.

How To Choose A Probiotic

When shopping for a probiotic supplement, there are a few key factors to keep in mind because they come in different forms that you can use in various ways.

  •  Intended use. Probiotics are developed for specific health issues; for example, some are formulated specifically to support reproductive health, digestive health, or immune function. 
  •  Storage needs. Most probiotics can be stored at room temperature, although some will require refrigeration because they are more sensitive to moisture and heat.
  •  CFU count. The amount of colony-forming units (CFU) present in a probiotic supplement is the number of live bacteria it contains. Though this can vary, most probiotic supplements supply 1–10 billion CFU in one serving.
  •  Dietary restrictions. Some supplements may be certified vegan or gluten-free, which is essential for those with strict dietary needs.

Types of Probiotics For Women

For Vaginal Health

The following probiotics help in preventing vaginal infections:

  •  Lactobacillus acidophilus
  •  Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14
  •  Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1
  •  Lactobacillus paracasei
  •  Bifidobacterium bifidum
  •  Bifidobacterium breve
  •  Bifidobacterium longum

Digestive Issues

For digestive problems, such as bloating and constipation

  •  Lactobacillus reuteri
  •  Lactobacillus acidophilus
  •  Lactobacillus plantarum
  •  Bifidobacterium animalis
  •  Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  •  Bifidobacterium breve
  •  Bifidobacterium longum

Weight Loss

These probiotic strains appear to be effective for fat loss

  •  Lactobacillus gasseri
  •  Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  •  Lactobacillus plantarum
  •  Lactobacillus fermentum

Skin Health

Studies show significant clinical improvement in patients with acne vulgaris when taking probiotics that contain:

  •  Lactobacillus acidophilus
  •  Lactobacillus reuteri
  •  Lactobacillus casei
  •  Lactobacillus plantarum
  •  Bifidobacterium longum

Reference

  1.  https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-are-probiotics
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30599936/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7408745/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pmcImmunopathology of Recurrent Vulvovaginal Infections – NCBI
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32668369/