Women are different than men: they can bear and nurse children, joys not often matched in life.
But it’s a messy business and women pay a price with menstruation, menopause, and all their attendant hormonal and metabolic zigs and zags. One of these is vaginosis, a common condition among women which is caused by microflora imbalance. Many factors can cause this disruption including stress, hormonal changes, a run of antibiotics, and sexually transmitted bacteria such as Chlamydia. The most common symptoms are itching and discharge. Antibiotics are typically given as treatment. After taking antibiotics, yeast overgrowth in the vagina may result for which antifungals such as micronazole are given to treat.
Can probiotics prevent or even treat bacterial and yeast infections?
Scientists think the answer is yes. Beneficial microflora in the vagina protect against pathogens, including those that cause urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
Healthy premenopausal women predominantly host lactobacilli which produce antimicrobial substances such as hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid and bacteriocins. The healthy bacteria also compete with pathogens and form barriers to prevent colonization and adherence of pathogens.
During vaginitis, lactobacilli are replaced, thus changing the environment to one in which pathogens survive. Researchers believe there is an increased risk for HIV as well as sexually transmitted diseases including gonorrhea, Chlamydia and herpes simplex during this time.
After menopause, 25 to 30% of women have lactobacilli present; if on hormone replacement therapy, 60 to 100% of women maintain the premenopausal mix.
Can lactobacillus cure vaginitis? Studies show positive if inconsistent results. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus fermentum RC-14 have been shown to positively modify the vaginal flora.
Douching is Bad
Because douching changes the healthy microflora, it is not beneficial. Douching is a common yet unneeded hygiene custom among women especially of lower socioeconomic classes; douching can bring adverse pregnancy outcomes including ectopic pregnancy and low birth weight, and is implicated in serious gynecological problems including cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, and increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases as well as HIV.
Just for fun, take a peek at the fine print on Summer’s Eve Fresh Scent.
- Purified Water, Octoxynol-9, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance.
- Purified water: No surprise here, first ingredient is nature’s best cleanser since time began.
- Octoxynol-9: a spermicide, though ineffective. Right to Lifers may want to know about this.
- Citric Acid: a natural preservative found in lemons and limes.
- Sodium Benzoate: Sodium benzoate is a common preservative. It is also used in fireworks as a fuel in whistle mix, a powder that emits a whistling noise when compressed into a tube and ignited. Yikes.
- Disodium EDTA: improves stability.
- Fragrance: Synthetic perfumes can be harmful to plants and animals by overwhelming cellular defense systems.
Which brings me to a favored practice of some ladies with itchy symptoms: dip a tampon onto plain yogurt (sugar may feed wrong bacteria), insert for one hour. If you catch it early, natural remedies such as this probiotic fix just may do the trick.