Probiotics have been proven to benefit not only men, but have also been proven to offer benefits for women in more ways than one. Probiotics have become very popular over the past few decades, and in doing so much research has been done to prove that there are benefits in supplementing one’s diet with these healthy bacteria. Probiotics generally offer added benefits to the gastrointestinal tract, but research has been developing that prove probiotics can also help with women’s health.
While the research is still in the beginning stages, there are promising results stating that probiotics can benefit women in many different areas of their overall health.
Today, we will discuss what probiotics are, and how they not only benefit a women’s digestive tract, but also can benefit women’s urogenital tract as well.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are defined as the good bacteria or good yeast cultures. These probiotics are supplements to replenish the good bacteria or good yeast that have been disrupted for some reason in the normal gastrointestinal system.
In order to better understand the reason we actually need to supplement our diet with probiotics, we need to understand the physiology behind the human intestinal tract.
In the human gastrointestinal tract, there are over 25 feet combined of large intestines and small intestines. These large and small intestines are home to billions, if not trillions of bacteria. Some of those bacteria is good bacteria; and some of that bacteria is bad bacteria. It is imperative that there is a balance between the good bacteria and the bad bacteria in order to maintain a regulated, functional gastrointestinal system. When there is an imbalance in the good bacteria versus the bad bacteria, then symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and other unwanted symptoms begin to develop.
Therefore, in order to prevent the imbalance that can occur, probiotics are given to supplement and prevent the disruption of the gastrointestinal tract.
Probiotics: Represent the good bacteria that are gut needs to maintain a balanced, regulated, and functional gastrointestinal system.
There are many different strains of probiotics; and it depends on what type of probiotic supplement or food that an individual decides to include in their diet that determines which probiotic strains are present.
Types Of Bacterial And/Or Yeast Strains:
What Benefits Are Associated With Supplementing My Diet With Probiotics?
Supplementing one’s diet with probiotics can offer added value in many ways. Probiotics are becoming popularized by celebrities, and have become the newest health advancement. Probiotics are the good bacteria that help to maintain the balance in the gastrointestinal tract; and in doing so maintains a functional, regulated system.
Probiotics offer many added benefits including: reduction in flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, vaginal infections, yeast infections, urinary tract infections and many more. There is limited research that is constantly being done in order to determine if probiotics really can help prevent and maintain a regulated gastrointestinal tract.
Other research is also being done to determine the effects of probiotics on the urinary and genital tracts in women as well.
Symptoms That Probiotics Seem To Alleviate:
- Reduction in flatulence
- Reduction in diarrhea
- Alleviation of constipation
- Alleviation of bloating
- Prevention of yeast infections
- Prevention of urinary tract infections
- Prevention of vaginal infections
Other Health Conditions That Probiotics May Show Promise In Addressing:
- Regulate the gastrointestinal tract
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis
- Yeast Infections
- Vaginal Infections: Bacterial Vaginosis
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea
- Infectious Diarrhea
These are only a few of the diseases and symptoms that probiotics have been proven to address.
While these lists are quite impressive, it is imperative as a concerned individual to do your due diligence and make sure that this research is valid and proven. Some of this research is showing promising results, but have not been directly contributed to the addition of probiotics. Therefore, it is imperative to keep that in mind when taking these supplements. While there are great opportunities to observe benefits of probiotics, results will vary; and thus so will the benefits.
Let’s continue on to determine which probiotics may have the ability to directly affect women’s health.
Which Probiotics Offer Benefits To Women’s Health?
Probiotics offer many benefits to any individual who is seeking to add regulation to their digestive tract. However, these probiotics not only offer benefits to a woman’s digestive tract, but also offers benefits to a woman’s urinary and genital tracts as well.
One of the major benefits that probiotics have been shown to offer to women is in the prevention of yeast infections and other vaginal infections. Research is continuing to show promising results in the realm of adding probiotics such as Lactobacillus and other similar strains to one’s diet can produce chemicals that can help prevent the development of yeast infections and other similar vaginal infections. Lactobacillus strains of bacteria are one of the more common bacterial probiotics that offer significant benefit to the women’s genital tract.
These Lactobacillus strains produce chemical compounds such as Lactic Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide; that help to create a more acidic environment in the vagina. This acidic environment in the vagina helps to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria and yeast in the genital tract. Bacteria do not like acidic environments, and in most cases cannot thrive in this type of environment. Therefore, by re-creating an acidic environment in the vagina it helps to prevent the development of bacterial infections and yeast infections.
The vagina is normally an acidic environment, and when for a variety of reasons, the acidic environment of the vagina is disrupted then it presents an opportunity for yeast infections and other bacterial infections to develop. Therefore, when this acidic environment of the vagina is disrupted it creates an imbalance. But if there is an imbalance, whether in the digestive tract or in the genital tract, probiotics seem to implement a regulation that will help to restore the function back to normal.
Many promising studies, have suggested that specific strains of Lactobacillus, including Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Lactobacillus Reuteri are the strains that offer the most benefit.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Lactobacillus Reuteri produce chemicals such as Hydrogen Peroxide and Lactic Acid that helps to re-create or maintain the acidic environment of the urogenital tract and thus prevents the overgrowth of bacteria and yeast.
These strains have been thought to help maintain the acidic environment in the vagina that allows for prevention of these infections.
Now, while this is promising results, and in most cases a lot of health care providers agree there is some benefit to adding probiotics to one’s diet, most health care providers are skeptical that these probiotics can actually prevent yeast infections and other bacterial infections from developing. Therefore, it is imperative to speak with your healthcare provider about adding probiotics to your diet. While, there are ample benefits to adding probiotics to one’s diet; it is not a free pass to forget about Western therapeutic medicine treatments.
If you have a bacterial infection, it is imperative to treat it with the required antibiotics. If you have a fungal or yeast infection it is imperative to treat it with the appropriate, standard of care treatment regimens. These probiotics should be used in addition to appropriate therapy; and no in replace of specific therapies. Probiotics offer great benefits as a supplement to one’s diet. Therefore, don’t think of probiotics as an in replace of type of medication; but rather a supplement to incorporate into your diet.
After you get permission from your physician, then you can feel confident that you are prepared to receive the benefits of these probiotics.
What Other Benefits Do Probiotics Offer Women?
The addition of probiotics to one’s diet can also help to prevent urinary tract infections. It does so by the same way it helps to prevent vaginal infections and yeast infections. Probiotics are thought to maintain the acidic environment of the urinary tract. By maintaining the urinary tract’s acidic environment, it helps to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria; and in doing such helps to prevent the development of urinary tract infections.
The above information shows promising results; however, there is not much scientific data to completely support this theory of prevention. What is thought to happen, is that the addition of probiotics helps to regulate the urinary and genital systems; however, it is not thought to actually physically prevent these infections from occurring.
Probiotics Help To Regulate The Digestive Tract:
Probiotics have been proven to regulate the digestive tract. The addition of probiotics to one’s diet helps to replenish the good bacteria that has been disrupted for some reason. By replacing the good bacteria in the gut, it results in the regulation of the gastrointestinal system.
Diseases such as: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea, Infectious Diarrhea, and many other gastrointestinal issues.
We have discussed in depth how probiotics regulate the gastrointestinal system. Just to re-cap that information, the intestinal tract is full of billions if not trillions of bacteria. Some of those bacteria are good bacteria, while others are bad bacteria.
There must be a balance between those bacteria, and when the balance is disrupted by one of the diseases listed or antibiotics, then it is essential to add probiotics to one’s diet in order to replenish the good bacteria in the gut. Once the probiotics replenish the good bacteria in the digestive system, then over time it will allow for the balance between good and bad bacteria to be restored. After the balance is restored, then the digestive system begins to regulate and the symptoms and diseases begin to resolve.
To Wrap It All Up
As you can see, probiotics offer many benefits to not only a woman’s digestive tract, but also to a woman’s urogenital tract. There are many benefits that these probiotics offer, that can make a difference in each individual woman’s life. These probiotics can help prevent yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and other digestive infections. Probiotics help reduce bloating, flatulence, constipation, and diarrhea. Once you have taken these probiotics you will begin to notice the great benefits that they have to offer.
However, remember that with every supplement you must first check with your physician to make sure that your specific health regimen will allow the introduction of these probiotics. Once you get the clear from the physician, you will then be able to reap the benefits of these probiotics.
Also, even those these probiotics sound wonderful; they are not cure all supplements. For every research article that shows the promising benefits; there are other research articles that state there is no physical scientific evidence that is tangible enough to prove a direct relationship between these probiotics and other benefits. Therefore, make sure that you do your due diligence and determine which probiotics offer the best benefits.
Also, make sure that the probiotics are supplements and do not interfere with treatment regimens that are necessary.
After reading this article and continuing to do your own research you are now able to make an educated decision about which probiotic to take. You are also now able to determine which probiotics will offer the most promising benefits to you as a woman.
As probiotics continue to become more popular, we will continue to learn more and in the future will be able to provide more scientifically tangible evidence that will help more individuals in the future.