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Probiotics for Yeast Infections

Yeast Infections = Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC)

The medical term for yeast infections is vulvovaginal candidiasis. VVC is a condition that affects about 75% of women at least once during their lifetime [1].

It’s usually well managed and responds well to conventional treatments.

It usually arises from Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungal organism which is actually normally in the healthy vaginal environment and gastrointestinal tract.

Yeast infections occur when there is an overgrowth of Candida species.

Yeast infections are not the only thing which causes vulvar or vaginal discomfort. Click here to learn more about the various causative factors of lower genital tract pain and discomfort.

Specific Probiotics Can Help

Look for these specifically: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14

First, a bit about Lactobacillus

Lactobacilli are a family of bacteria. This is the predominant bacteria of a healthy vagina. They tend to prevent overgrowth of pathogens. They work by producing certain acids, bacteriocins, biosurfactants, hydrogen peroxide and coaggregation molecules [2]. Lactobacillus helps maintain a normal vaginal pH of 3.8 to 4.5 [3], which is quite acidic, as you’ll notice on the image below. As a woman ages, pH will rise to about 5.3.

ph scale

Probiotic Supplements

Are live organisms which, in adequate amounts can have some beneficial health benefit. These are a good option for anyone with a yeast infection, both first time infections as well as those which are recurrent or chronic.

When supplementing a probiotic, we need to pick and chose a specific probiotic formula based on our goals and medical history. We cannot take random probiotics and expect a specific response to occur.

Probiotics for Yeast Infections

A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed taking the aforementioned probiotics, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14.

The results were very encouraging.

Women taking these two specific probiotics had the following benefits, after taking the supplements for 4 weeks:

  1. Less vaginal discharge
  2. Less itching
  3. Less burning
  4. Less painful urination
  5. Less painful vaginal insertion

Not only was there symptomatic relief, but the same study showed it fought off Candida species, even better than those taking anti-fungal meds!

More of this study can be found here.

Summary

If you’re dealing with a yeast infection, probiotics have an important role to play. There are many contributing factors, especially in chronic or recurrent yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to help neutralize the overgrowth of invading pathogens as well as give symptomatic relieve. You do need to find specific probiotics so make sure you work with a naturopath locally, who can assist you in finding the appropriate supplements.

References

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