Over the years, probiotics have been widely researched for their potential to improve the overall health of many different systems within the body. Recent research has focused on the potential benefits for women in particular. More than ever, people are searching for more natural ways to boost their immune system and support good health without the use of medications, and probiotics are a simple way to supplement the body’s natural defenses.
What are Probiotics?
Understanding the basics of what probiotics are and how they can benefit the body is essential in choosing the supplement that is best for each woman’s individual needs.
The female body is host to over 750 trillion different microorganisms that live within the digestive tract and urogenital system. These bacteria play a vital role in maintaining the innate balance and health of the body and can help to fight off harmful pathogens before they are able to create an infection.
Several factors can alter the natural balance of these beneficial microbes within women, and an unbalance of probiotics can contribute to many unpleasant symptoms. Research has shown that lack of good bacteria within women can lead to issues with immune function, vaginal health, bladder infections, and exacerbation of IBS symptoms.
Benefits of Probiotic Supplementation in Women
Millions of women across the country struggle with digestive issues and symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These symptoms can range in severity, and they often include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. In a recent research study related to probiotic supplementation for women with IBS, all participants experienced relief from IBS abdominal pain when taking L. plantarum.
Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common urogenital conditions that women seek treatment for, and research has supported the benefits of probiotic supplementation to increase vaginal health. Probiotics play a role in keeping the vaginal environment acidic in order to reduce the prevalence of harmful bacteria. By restoring the balance of bacteria in the vagina with supplementation of probiotics, yeast and pathogens are unable to adhere to cells and cause vaginosis and other unpleasant conditions.
Additionally, there has been positive correlations between the use of probiotics and a reduction of bladder infections within women. This is particularly good news, as many of the common antibiotics used to traditionally treat UTI’s are not as effective as they once were due to antibiotic resistance.
Choosing a Probiotic Supplement
With the support of extensive scientific research, the use of probiotics in women is a promising way to support good health and quality of life. However, not all probiotic supplements are created equally! When choosing a supplement that is right for your specific needs, it is important to research the various strains of bacteria in the supplement, as well as the concentration of these strains.
Common probiotic strains that are associated with being beneficial for women’s health include:
- L. rhamnosus
- L. acidophilus
- S. thermophilus
- L. plantarum
- B. infantis
When choosing a probiotic supplement, look for one that has a concentration in the billions to ensure that an adequate number of microbes make it through the digestive tract. The minimum effective dosage can vary by strain of bacteria, so research is essential in choosing the product right for you.