Probiotics are used in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), digestion issues, and intestinal diseases. Some scientific evidence suggests probiotics in yogurt, capsules, and vaginal suppositories may help prevent and treat imbalance in the vagina.
Lactobacillus is the most abundant microorganism in the vagina, which is related to the vaginal mucosal barrier. Lactobacillus adheres to the vaginal epithelium and can competitively antagonize the colonization of pathogens.
The factors produced by Lactobacillus, such as bacteriocin and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), can inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and maintain the low pH environment of the vagina. Probiotics play an important role in maintaining the stability of vaginal microenvironment, improving immune defense and blocking the progression of cervical cancer for women.
Aside from various interactions with the vagina, probiotics are more commonly known for positive effects within the gut, including helping with the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
In one study, adding vaginal probiotic application to antifungal treatment for women with recurrent yeast infections slightly boosted their cure rate. The vaginal suppository noticeably increased the beneficial vaginal bacteria levels in women whose levels of Lactobacilli were lower than average at the beginning of the study.
Another study found that a vaginal gel containing a mix of Lactobacilli probiotics was most helpful for mild yeast infections, allowing 45% of the women to forgo antifungal medication.
Researchers noted that one of the protective strains didn’t persist long in the vagina.
Since antibiotics can vary so greatly, it's essential to consult your doctor before attempting to combine probiotics with antibiotics, or attempting to treat an infection or fungus with probiotics.
Treating Bacterial Vaginosis is currently best done with antibiotics. While there is some evidence to suggest that BV can be treated with probiotics, there are very specific probiotics being used, and even in those cases it's usually more effective to use antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
Some studies have found that eating probiotic gummies or greek yogurt with live cultures can help prevent yeast infections. There is some evidence that consuming probiotic gummies or yogurt with live cultures can hasten the response to medical treatment for vaginal candidiasis.
Cultured yogurts and probiotic gummies typically contain Lactobacillus species, and sometimes Bifidobacterium species are added. Some yogurts’ probiotics may not survive their trip through the GI tract.
Probiotics can work differently depending on the person. If you want to test and see how probiotics will work for you, it's best to have a goal in mind so you will know how probiotics are affecting you.