Mommy Health & Fitness

 Probiotic for Women: 11 Health Benefits of Taking a Probiotic Once In a While

Probiotics are living microorganisms that form part of a larger bacterial community in your body, known as a microbiome.

A microbiome is a community of organisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungi working together to keep your body healthy.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Probiotics exist naturally in your body. They may be found in your guts, urinary tract, vagina, lungs, mouth, and skin. Their main function is to aid your body’s natural processes so that you  remain healthy.

Probiotics for women are supplements formulated specifically to meet women’s needs. They are designed for a woman’s body structure and functionality.

This post looks at the health benefits of taking a probiotic once in  a while and the factors you should consider before having your dose.

But before then;

Do You Actually Need Probiotics?

Many women tend to ask this simple question;

‘If the good bacteria exist naturally in my body, why should I take a probiotic?’

Well,
Your body has two kinds of bacteria coexisting — good and bad. Probiotics are good bacteria that help keep your body healthy and working well.

A slight interruption in the balance between good and bad bacteria may result in dysbiosis, leading to infections.

Dysbiosis occurs when the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract become unbalanced and thus can not facilitate the proper functioning of the natural processes in your body.

What Causes a Bacterial Imbalance in Gut?

Bacterial imbalance may occur in your gastrointestinal tract because of the following;
• A dietary change such as increasing sugar intake, or use of too much food additives
• Consumption of chemicals like pesticides through eating unwashed fruit
• Taking antibiotics for a long time
• Poor dental hygiene
• Stress or anxiety that can weaken your immunity
• Having unprotected sex with multiple partners
• Exposing your skin to harmful bacteria or strong UV rays

All these factors can boost an overgrowth of harmful bacteria by creating a favorable environment for them to multiply. As harmful bacteria thrive, the good ones that support your natural process may diminish, creating an unhealthy microbiome balance in your system.

What are the signs that you need a probiotic?

Changes in your bacterial composition come with dire repercussions. You will experience different symptoms depending on where the bacteria imbalance develops.

You’ll feel itchiness and a fishy odor if it’s in your yoni. Similarly, you may have to deal with stomach upsets and bloating if it’s in your gut.

Here are a few common symptoms you may experience if you have a bacterial imbalance in your body.

Common symptoms of bacterial imbalance include:

• constipation and bloating
• Recurring diarrhea
• difficulty urinating
• vaginal odor or rectal itching
• skin rashes
• fatigue and anxiety
• low concentrating
• mood swings and depression
• bad breath
• upset stomach
• nausea

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11 Reasons Why Every Woman Needs a Probiotic Once in a While

Probiotics for women are crucial and comes with several health benefits. According to Dr Lumbasi, everyone needs a probiotic. However, women can benefit more due to their body structure.

From keeping the balance of the vaginal microbiome to guarding against some urogenital infections, probiotics have proved effective in a woman’s life.

Here are 11 health benefits of taking a probiotic once in a while.

 1. To Improve Your Vaginal Health

One study shows that using probiotics with certain strains can reduce the number of harmful bacteria and maintain the stability of the vaginal flora environment.

According to medics, there are over 50 different species of tiny live microorganisms inside your vagina.

The most notable species of these vaginal bacteria is known as lactobacilli. Its primary function is to help keep the vagina healthy and free of infection.

A times there is a disruption of the balance between these good bacteria, like lactobacilli and harmful bacteria due to hormonal changes or poor hygiene habits. This can result in an overgrowth of harmful microbes, leading to infections.

The most common disorders that result from bacteria imbalances in your yoni include bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection.

If you do not deal with the imbalance fast enough, you may experience a fishy odor, itching, pain and discharge from your yoni.

Luckily, introducing lactobacilli into your system can help fight off the bad bacteria, restoring your system to normal.

According to research, some strains of Lactobacilli bacteria, can effectively help in treating and preventing vaginal infections.

Additionally, scientific evidence shows probiotics in yoghurt, supplements, and vaginal suppositories may help prevent or treat imbalance in the vagina.

According to this study, women who ate probiotic yoghurt with lactobacillus acidophilus were less likely to experience BV than those who did not. These results suggest the probiotic had some protective effect against vaginal imbalance.

Related; 7 Powerful Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Vaginal Yeast Infection in Just 3 days

2. To Boosts Immunity and Protect Against Infections

Probiotics have proved effective in boosting the immune system and promoting the production of antibodies for body defense.

Research shows that some strains of probiotics can increase immune cells like the IgA-producing cells, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. By increasing your immune cells, you stand a better chance to prevent and fight infections.

According to studies, probiotics can prevent acute upper respiratory infections. Strains like lactobacillus GG have effectively reduced the frequency and severity of respiratory infections, especially in kids.

Be sure to give your kids fermented milk products like yogurts. Foods that are rich in probiotics not only help in digestion but will go a long way in fortifying their immunity.

Also, get a an immune boosting probiotic with Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis strains for enhancing your immunity.

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 3. May Aid in Loosing Weight and Belly Fat

Probiotics can help you with weight management through several mechanisms. According to studies, some strains of probiotics can prevent dietary fat absorption in the intestine. As such, the fats which could have been stored in your body are excreted through feces.

Some probiotics strains have also been found to help you feel fuller for longer, burn more calories and store less fat.

In fact, studies suggest that other strains, like Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus gasseri, can help you lose weight and reduce belly fat, respectively.

However, you must be careful when choosing a probiotic for weight lose. Some strains like Lactobacillus acidophilus, can lead to weight gain.

4. Help to Enhance Gut Health and Improve Digestion

Naturally, your gut and digestive system function optimally when there is a balance between good and bad bacteria. However, this is not the case sometimes.

Bacterial imbalances may occur due to illness or poor diet resulting in alteration of your normal body function. As such, you may experience bloating, nausea or vomiting due to indigestion issues.

Consuming probiotics introduce good bacteria into your digestive system. The live microorganism in probiotics is thought to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria, thus reducing the symptom of certain digestive disorders.

Also, some strains of probiotics have been shown to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

 According to research, patients of IBS who took certain strains of probiotics were likely to recover faster compared to those who were not given them.

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5. Can Help Prevent and Treat Diarrhea

Most people suffer from diarrhea after taking antibiotics. According to research, this may occur because antibiotic drugs disrupt the microbial balance of good and bad bacteria.

Most healthcare providers will recommend a probiotic to counter this antibiotic effect on your body.

Studies suggest that taking some probiotic strains can help prevent or reduce the severity of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Additionally, some probiotic Strains like Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus casei have been associated with reduced risk of other forms of Diarrhea.

People who ingest these probiotics regularly are less likely to experience other forms of Diarrhea or a prolonged duration of infection.

6. Improve Mood, Sleep, and Appetite

According to researchers, there is a close relationship between your gut, brain, and nervous system.

These significant body functions interlink and connects in the gut-brain axis (GBA). Experts believe that the microbes in your gut, including probiotics, can produce neurotransmitters that can affect appetite, mood, or sleep habits.

Similarly, these live microorganisms significantly reduce body inflammation which can cause depression and response to stress.

According to a study by Science direct probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 may improve quality of life and reduce symptoms of depression in people with irritable bowel syndrome.

Similarly, other studies suggest that probiotics can improve cognitive reactivity, Mood, and sleep quality.

According to this research, a daily dose of a probiotic with certain strains like Lactobacillus fermentum LF16, L. rhamnosus LR06, L. Plantarum LP01, and Bifidobacterium longum BL04) for about six weeks can help improve mood, personality dimensions, and sleep quality.

7. Improves Skin Health

Some studies link probiotics to improved skin health in adults and children. One study shows that probiotic bacteriotherapy can effectively prevent and treat skin disorders.

According to this study, regular consumption of probiotic help prevent and treat eczema, atopic dermatitis, acne, and allergic inflammation.

Similarly scientific evidence shows that probiotic bacteriotherapy can help treat UV-induced skin damage, and wound protection.

In recent past, dermatologists have turned to use of Lactobacillus acidophilus in treating acne. In their clinical studies assessing the effects of probiotics on skin health, it was noted that milk with Lactobacilli probiotic strain significantly improved the severity of acne.

A 2016 review on the anti-aging effect of probiotics suggests that certain strains of probiotics can help restore skin’s pH, reduce oxidative stress, and combart the effects of sun damage.Similarly, it improves the skin’s moisture barrier and enhances hair quality.

More research suggests that pregnant women who regularly take probiotics have a reduced risk of giving birth to child with eczema. Also, children fed on probiotic-supplemented milk had improved symptoms of eczema compared to infants who were fed milk without probiotics.

Based on this scientific evidence, taking probiotics like Love Wellness Clear Skin Probiotic and HUM Skin Squad may go along way in supporting your skin health.

8. Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Certain strains of Probiotics have proved effective in helping to keep your heart healthy. According to research, regularly consuming probiotics can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and blood pressure.

Some probiotics consist of certain lactic acid-producing bacteria. These bacteria help to break down bile in your gut, thus reducing cholesterol levels.

study suggests that consuming a probiotic yogurt for 2–8 weeks can help reduce total cholesterol by 4% and LDL cholesterol by 5% .This in return, helps to lower the risk of heart disease, which is caused by an accumulation of cholesterol around in your body.

9. They Can Improve Fertility

Trying to conceive can be challenging and emotionally draining. However, adding a natural booster can go a long way in improving your chances of conceiving.

Probiotics are known to improve vaginal flora, which is essential for fertility. Over time some studies have indicated positive fertility results, especially in women who administered probiotics in their vaginas for 10 days before fertility treatment.

According to a study by NIH, probiotics-based therapies on reproductive health in humans and animals have yielded positive results. According to this study, the antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties in different strains of probiotics are thought to support reproductive tract eubiosis and fertility.

Related: 10 Most Important Pregnancy Nutrients for Wholesome Baby Development

10. Lower the Risk of Cognitive and Mental Disorders

According to studies, there is aconnection between your gut, brain and nervous system. The bacteria in your gut can interact with your mind in a system known as the gut-brain axis.

This gut-brain axis entails the immune, endocrine, and neuronal, linking the body’s central nervous systems,which govern digestion. Because of these interlinking, certain microbes can positively or negatively affect your brain.

Scientist term this interlinking of gut bacteria to your brain as part of an emerging “psychobiotics.”

Psychobiotics entail using certain probiotic strains to cope with mental stress. Recent studies suggest that some people prefer certain strains of probiotics to cope with mental illness instead of psychotropic drugs.

Similarly, basic research proves that probiotics could effectively improve psychiatric disorder-related behaviours like anxiety, depression, and autism.

11. Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

According to a 2006 review on probiotics’ efficacy in treating UTIs in women, the study concluded that certain strains of probiotics could effectively prevent UTIs from recurring.

The use of probiotics, especially lactobacilli, has proved effective in the prevention of UTIs.

According to scientists, lactobacilli dominate the urogenital flora of healthy women. To restore urogenital flora, which is dominated by uropathogens, you need to introduce lactobacilli bacteria which may help protect against UTIs.

In a  study performed in 1996, medics found that women who consumed probiotic yogurt containing lactobacillus acidophilus had a more significant amount of lactobacillus bacteria in their vaginas than those who did not.

Consequently, women who ate this probiotic yogurt were also less likely to experience BV than those who did not.

Probiotics can help restore the natural balance of bacteria throughout the body and help prevent urinary tract Infections. This could help re-balance vaginal pH levels and combat vaginal infections.

Are There Things You Should know Before Taking Probiotics?

Yes. There are several things you must understand before taking probiotics to help maximize on their benefits.

  • When you ingest a probiotic, it doesn’t stay permanently in your gut or your body; the probiotics you eat in natural food or supplements do not forever form part of the intestinal ecosystem. It might help fight the harmful bacteria that make you sick before passing through the gut and out of the system. That is why medics advocate for taking them often, especially after prolonged antibiotic use.
  • Choosing the right strain is important; Probiotic work differently, depending on your health issue. Having the right strain is what makes a different on whether you‘ll get a positive result or not. For instance, some people opt to keep their immunity in check by consuming more probiotics for solid immunity. Similarly, you may need different options altogether if you are suffering from recurring yeast infections or tummy troubles.
  • Probiotics thrive where there is a prebiotic; Just as you work well when you have eaten, the living microorganism in your gut—both visitors and residents—need to eat, too. Prebiotics are no digestible carbs that feed friendly bacteria and help them multiply. Prebiotics are found in foods like wholegrain oatmeal, bananas, onions, and asparagus.
  • Too much heat is harmful; since probiotics are living microorganisms, they can only survive under certain temperatures. You may want to avoid exposing your probiotic dose to too much heat or high temperatures as this can kill the organisms.
  • What works for me may not work for you; Each individual’s microbial makeup is unique. As such, a probiotic that works for me may not work for you. Apart from the recommendation, you should try to find the best combination that yields maximum results for you as opposed to others. Go for tests and let your professional healthcare provider advice you accordingly.
  • Coated supplements may be your best option; Some probiotic strains can’t survive the acidity of your gut. That is why its crucial to choose a coated supplement. The outer shell acts like a preventive shield allowing it to reach your intestines safely. Also, its best practice to take your probiotics with food. This will help protect it from the aggressive acidic environment.

Related:Dealing with an Itchy Vagina: 8 Best Home Remedies For Vaginal Itching

Should Every Woman Take Probiotics?

Definitely no. Your body is self-sufficient with bacteria in your gut to aid in natural processes. However, if you experience some illness, take antibiotic medications, and aren’t following a perfect diet with low sugar intake, then you may be an ideal candidate for probiotics.

Probiotics are not drugs. They are safe living microorganisms that give a boost to the excellent resident bacteria in your body. Who doesn’t need a helping hand anyway?

What is the Best Time to Take a Probiotic?

Studies show that the best time to take a probiotic is with meals or 30 mins before a meal. Taking your probiotic with foods enhances the survival of probiotic microbes during gastrointestinal transit. This study shows that ingesting probiotics 30 mins after meals lowers their chances of survival.

Who Should Not Take Probiotics?

Despite evidence of probiotic efficacy in women’s bodies, Some studies have linked probiotics to other mild side effects. According to medics, some people have shown adverse reactions after taking a probiotic.

If you have allergies to certain drugs or are struggling with immune system problems, you must consult your healthcare provider before buying any probiotics.

Also, people who have had surgery, gone through chemotherapies, or are critically ill should completely avoid probiotics or consult a professional before taking a probiotics.

Take Away

There are many health benefits of taking a probiotic once in a while. In fact, Probiotic for women is no longer a luxury but a necessity. With the emerging changes in lifestyle and dietry issues, getting a probiotic supplement that is tailor-made for your body’s needs may significantly enhance your health. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider on the probiotic strain that can yield maximum benefits without posing any risks of complication to your health.

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Irene Twala
As a freelance writer and a mompreneur, Irene helps mothers to hone their parental skills, learn how to start and run an online business while taking care of their health.

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