In this article, we will explore the top 5 benefits of probiotics for individuals with vaginas, regardless of gender identity.
We understand that some people with vaginas may not identify as a woman, but for the sake of the medical research cited, we use the term “women” throughout the article. We want to assure all readers that this information applies to anyone who has a vagina and is interested in incorporating beneficial microorganisms into their daily routine.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide various health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. While probiotics are often associated with digestive health, they can also provide numerous benefits, specifically for women. From reducing the risk of urinary tract infections to supporting a healthy mood, the potential benefits of probiotics for this group are vast.
Top 5 Benefits of Probiotics for Women
Urinary tract infections are particularly common in women; 50-60% of women will have a UTI at least once.1 Women have a shorter urethra than men, making women more susceptible to infections of the bladder like UTIs, as the bacteria has less far to travel.
UTIs are caused when bacteria enter the urethra, usually from poo entering the area.2 In women, the area between the anus and the urethra is far closer than in men, making it far easier for poo to get in places it shouldn’t be.
Having sex, using unclean or sharing sex toys, not keeping the area clean and dry, pregnancy, having a weakened immune system or health conditions such as kidney stones can also impact the bacteria levels in the urethra and lead to UTIs.2
Probiotics can be useful for reducing the risk of getting a UTI by maintaining healthy levels of good bacteria in the urinary tract. In particular, probiotics from the Lactobacillus families, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14®, are well studied in helping with preventing UTIs.3
Each vagina has its own microbiome; good and bad bacteria exist within the vagina, which must be balanced to have a healthy vagina.
Bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections like thrush are the most common issues that arise in a vagina. These are both caused by harmful bacteria or organisms entering the vaginal canal and can cause unpleasant symptoms such as unusual discharge, itching and a foul odour, depending on the particular infection.4
Probiotics can help maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome, reducing the risk of bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Probiotics can reduce the number of harmful bacteria whilst increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the vagina, helping to achieve optimal vaginal health.5
As well as helping prevent vaginal infections, probiotics have also been found increasingly to be an effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis (BV). Stabilising the bacteria in the vagina and reducing the harmful bacteria can help to get rid of BV and improve vaginal health.5
Immune System Support
Autoimmune diseases are more prevalent amongst people born female - the rate is four times higher than in people born male.6 Probiotics can help support a healthy immune system, which is particularly important for this group of people as they are more likely to have issues with their immune systems.
70% of the immune system cells exist within the gut, meaning that looking after your gut health can help boost the immune system and ensure it has the best chance of functioning properly.7 Probiotics help to add new species of good bacteria to the gut microbiome, improving diversity and allowing you to achieve good gut health.
Women are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men are, meaning that doing everything you can to support your mood is particularly prevalent for women.8
Our guts and brains are intricately connected, meaning poor gut health has been heavily linked to poor mental health and visa versa. Probiotics may help support healthy mood by regulating gut-brain communication, which could help mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
To read more on probiotics and mental health or the gut-brain axis, check out our articles:
Our bones are made of living tissue that is consistently broken down and replaced throughout our lives. As we age, the replacement of bone tissue slows down, and this can cause bones to grow thinner gradually.9
As women go through menopause and come out the other side, bone density issues and osteoporosis are increasingly concerning. Probiotics can support healthy bone density and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.10
What is the Best Probiotic for Women?
At The Gut Co, we created Gut Care, a probiotic supplement designed to help everyone to achieve optimum gut health and the benefits that this brings, including women.
With 3 strains of probiotics from the Lactobacillus family, along with Saccharomyces Bouldardii SP 92, this gives a great variety of probiotic strains to benefit overall health in women. With the addition of Actazin, a powerful prebiotic kiwifruit extract that feeds the existing beneficial bacteria in the gut, helping them to thrive, Gut Care could be a great addition to your daily routine.
Take Home Message
Looking after your health as a woman is extremely important. With a shorter urethra and a higher chance of immune system deficiencies and mental health issues, ensuring you are giving yourself the best chance of maintaining your health is crucial. Taking a daily probiotic supplement can put your mind at ease that you are making a difference each and every day.
As always, if you have any particular concerns about your health, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or a pharmacist for advice.