Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is one of the most common causes of vaginal discomfort in women of reproductive age, affecting almost one in every three women. Surprisingly, however, many women have never heard of it.
In this article, we will discuss how probiotics can benefit individuals suffering from this inflammation, as well as which probiotics may be the best to take for BV.
What Is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial vaginosis is characterized by an increase of certain bacteria in the
vagina that causes a disruption in the normal bacterial balance. Gardnerella vaginalis is the most common strain that is seen in bacterial overgrowth causing BV, but other bacteria such as Atopobium vaginae, Mobiluncus spp., and Bacteroides spp. can also be present.
This overgrowth results in a relative absence of healthy bacterial species in the vagina. As a result, dysbiosis (disruption of the bacterial environment or microbiota) can develop.
Lactobacillus species are dominant in the vaginal microbiome. Lactobacilli contribute to the health of the vaginal environment in a variety of ways, one of which is by the creation of lactic acid. Lactic acid lowers vaginal pH and keeps it between 3.5 and 4.5, which is considered healthy.
The acidity helps to protect against harmful microorganisms. When the environment becomes too alkaline, it creates an unstable environment in which harmful bacteria can grow uncontrollably. This creates a vicious cycle as harmful, bacterial overgrowth raises the pH, and a higher pH supports the growth of even more bacteria.
Women are frequently unaware that they have BV because it does not commonly cause symptoms. If symptoms are present, they are typically characterized by a thin, white discharge and an unpleasant odor most describe as pungent and “fishy.”
Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis
Women with BV may not have symptoms. However, if symptoms are seen, they may include:
- A burning sensation when peeing
- A fishy odor that becomes worse after intercourse
- Pain or itching
- Discharge that is thin and white or gray
It's not the same as having a yeast infection which usually has a thick, white discharge that’s odorless. Although, you can also use probiotics for a yeast infection to regain balance.
When To See a Doctor
Because BV symptoms might resemble those of other illnesses, especially sexually transmitted infections, it is critical to determine the cause. Consult your doctor if you have:
- Vaginal discharge that smells foul and/or a fever
- Have multiple sexual partners or a new partner
- Used an over-the-counter drug to treat a yeast infection, and the symptoms persist
Causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
It is not completely clear what causes the condition. It is thought that some lifestyle variables, such as frequent douching or the use of soaps and shower gels might alkalinize the vagina, allowing undesired strains of bacteria to grow.
Lactobacillus bacteria keep your vagina acidic, preventing dangerous bacteria from growing. When lactobacillus levels fall, more harmful bacteria invade and a number of issues can occur including bacterial vaginosis.
Risk Factors of Bacterial Vaginosis
You may have a higher risk of experiencing BV if you:
- Are sexually active
Douching disrupts the normal bacterial balance. Scented soaps, bubble baths, and vaginal deodorants can all be disruptive to the vaginal microbiome.
Having a new, or multiple, sexual partners increases your chances of getting BV. It is unclear why, but women who have female partners are more vulnerable.
The IUD, or intrauterine device, has been associated with BV, especially if you have irregular bleeding. However, it’s unclear whether this is a direct cause.
Despite what some people say, swimming pools and public toilet seats are not places where you can obtain vaginal infections like BV.
Your doctor will do the following:
- Inquire about your medical background
- Perform a physical examination
- Perform a pelvic exam
- Assess the pH levels in your vagina
- Collect samples of your vaginal discharge to test for bacteria-infected cells
Treatment For Bacterial Vaginosis
Antibiotics like metronidazole or clindamycin might be prescribed by the doctor to treat BV. It could be a pill that you consume or a lotion or gel that you apply. Most treatments will require you to take them for 5 to 7 days.
Even if your symptoms go away, you need to finish all of your medications. If you quit too soon, the infection may resurface and become resistant to antibiotics.
Since BV can be transmitted through sex, avoid sexual intercourse until you've finished your medication and your symptoms have subsided. If your partner is a woman, she may want to consult a doctor to check if she needs treatment.
Once BV is treated and gone, it can frequently reappear. If this occurs, you will most likely need to take medication for a longer period of time. If you are using an IUD and your BV continues to return, you should consult with your doctor about switching to a new kind of birth control.
Complications of Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis has been linked to an increased risk of other health concerns, including:
- Sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, chlamydia, or gonorrhea, or the transmission of HIV to your partner
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- A baby born prematurely or with a low birth weight (if BV is not treated during pregnancy)
How To Prevent BV
Take the following precautions to reduce your chances of contracting BV:
- Do not disrupt the vaginal microbiome by using soaps, scented products, and douching
- Limit sex partners
- Use of personalized probiotic and prebiotic mixtures recommended by a healthcare provider
Which Probiotics Are Best?
Due to bacterial vaginosis resulting in an imbalance between healthy and harmful bacteria, consuming probiotics or introducing probiotic bacteria has been shown to help treat BV. When taken orally, probiotics can help restore the vaginal flora.
If you are looking to find a probiotic for bacterial vaginosis, consult with your healthcare provider before taking a new supplement.
Listed below are two of the best probiotics for BV on the market today:
Hyperbiotics PRO-Women: Probiotics For Women
If you are looking for a probiotic supplement, it is required to choose a product from a trusting company. It is also important to find a product that can make it through stomach acids and reside in specific areas of the intestinal tract.
According to research, supporting a probiotic with a prebiotic can promote the growth and maintenance of helpful bacteria.
PRO-Women Probiotics for Women promotes normal yeast balance, urinary tract health, and immune function. Probiotics have been studied to improve overall health and well-being by restoring beneficial intestinal bacteria.
- Regulates vaginal microbiome
- Helps to prevent UTIs
- Helps fight new and reoccurring yeast, candida, and BV infections
- Boosts immune support
- May cause gas and bloating
- Everyone has different microbiome and will react to probiotics on an individual basis
Hyperbiotics PRO-Moms: Probiotics For MomsPRO-Moms encourages regularity as well as optimal nutrient absorption. Improved absorption allows you to get the most out of your foods and supplements. Specific probiotics that mom takes can directly affect fetus health.
The probiotic organisms in this solution are delivered over an 8-10 hour period utilizing a revolutionary delivery mechanism, allowing them to bypass stomach acids and reach deep into your digestive tract intact to provide you with the benefits you will love.
- Supports digestion
- Promote nutrient absorption
- Specific probiotic strains that may help to naturally produce B vitamins, like Folate, to assist in the health of you and your child
- Creates a healthy birthing environment to pass on your your baby
- May cause gas and bloating
Probiotics and prebiotics are slowly becoming the mainstay to ensuring gut, urinary, vaginal and overall well-being. Hyperbiotics’ PRO-Women and PRO-Moms products set the bar pretty high if you are looking for high quality, trusting products.
Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:
- Benefits Of Probiotics For Women
- Best Probiotics For Weight Loss
- Can You Take Too Many Probiotics?
- Probiotics With Antibiotics
- Probiotic Side Effects
- Difference Between Prebiotic And Probiotic
- What to Expect When You Start Taking Probiotics
- Probiotics for Kids
- Best Probiotic for Men
**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.