When it comes to your health, you shouldn't really pull any punches. After all, you've only got one life and it should be spent on doing the things you enjoy, not hanging around in clinic waiting rooms, combatting totally preventable disorders, or mitigating the effects of your poor decisions.
People struggle with a lot of issues related to their gut health. It shouldn't come as a surprise, given how the modern diet of a busy adult is filled with processed foods, carbohydrates, and empty calories, none of which contribute to the growth of beneficial bacteria or strengthening of the immune system.
Women, especially those undergoing menopause, are a group of people who could significantly benefit from a probiotic regimen. A responsible, regular intake of such supplements could do wonders for your vaginal health, as well as alleviate many other problems that may have been bothering you for a while. Taking probiotics can also have a positive impact on one's heart health and reduce the severity of certain allergies.
Just like with any other medicines or supplements, you should consult your new probiotic regimen with your dietitian and physician. They will help you choose a probiotic that will address your needs, while also ensuring that none of its ingredients will affect your health in a negative way.
If you're wondering how exactly daily probiotic use can help you as a woman, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll discuss all the main ways in which these supplements can improve your health, as well as suggest some of the best probiotic strains for women.
The Benefits for Probiotics for Women
While there are many types of great probiotics out there, in order to find the best probiotics for women, you'll need to know more about these supplements. First of all, you should learn about how different products will affect your body, and what benefits you're actually after. Without that, you won't be able to make an informed choice about which products to choose and which of them aren't really worth it.
You can't just take any probiotic supplement and hope that it will solve all of your underlying issues. Remember: supplements are not medicine. They're not meant to heal your body, but rather strengthen your immune system, as well as alleviate some of the negativities that come with undergoing menopause.
Below, you can find some of the most prominent benefits of probiotics for women.
Protect Against Yeast Infections
Yeast infections, like all fungal infections, can get very nasty and very painful. A lot of things can cause a yeast infection, including oral contraceptives (i.e. "the pill"), as well as other forms of hormonal therapy. A long period of antibiotic treatment will also put you at a higher risk of developing this infection. Studies also show that pregnant women are more likely to get a yeast infection than their non-pregnant counterparts. All of the causes mentioned above have one thing in common: they have a profound, weakening effect on your immune system. A weakened immune system means that it is much easier for harmful bacteria and all sorts of viruses to enter your organism, including candida albicans, the fungus responsible for most instances of yeast infections.
There are many proven ways to prevent the frequent occurrence of yeast infections, including avoiding taking very hot baths and tightly-fitting underwear. If you want to help your body protect itself against these infections from within, though, your best option is to take probiotics. There are two options: options that are directly inserted into your vagina, or oral probiotics. They're both equally effective and can help support your vaginal flora.
So how exactly do probiotics help protect you against yeast infections? It all comes down to Lactobacilli. Studies have shown that the presence of this bacteria in the vagina is connected to a lower chance of developing a yeast infection at any point (source). Even though lactobacillus is probably one of the better-known types of beneficial bacteria, it only accounts for around 0.01% of all the bacteria produced by your gut. If you're looking for a way to boost your gut health and protect your vagina from unwanted infections, getting a probiotic supplement that contains lactobacillus is the best way to do so.
Hot Flashes Relief
Hot flashes are one of the most annoying and infamous symptoms of menopause. Over the years, it has become almost synonymous with the condition itself. The feeling of overwhelming heat that you just can't get away from can have a profound, negative impact on your mental health, which is already usually affected by the sheer fact of a menopause offset.
The frequency and intensity of hot flashes can be minimized by improving your diet, as well as avoiding various triggers such as smoking cigarettes or wearing tight clothing. Aside from lifestyle changes, probiotic supplements have also proven to be effective in managing hot flashes (source). This is because certain bacteria can improve your metabolism and the process of hormone recycling, which are the two factors that are tied to menopausal hot flashes. The combination of various types of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus present in many probiotics marketed towards women undergoing menopause may help you get relief from these episodes. Keep in mind, however, that while supplementation is certainly a step in the right direction, adapting your lifestyle is also incredibly important. Probiotic capsules are not an excuse for making bad decisions. It is only when you take them while also avoiding triggering foods and activities, you'll come to notice the positive effects.
Help Manage Your Weight
It's already been mentioned above that the very best probiotics can help you improve your metabolism and general gut health. As we get older, our bodies don't process food as quickly and efficiently as they used to, and so it's absolutely necessary to lend them a helping hand in that department. Aside from improving metabolism, these supplements are going to keep your gut healthy, which is incredibly important for maintaining your digestive system in good shape.
Women undergoing menopause are often affected by sudden weight changes, due to all of the hormonal revolutions going off all at the same time inside of their bodies. If you struggle with keeping track of your weight due to menopause, you might want to consider picking up a few different strains of probiotics and going on a daily probiotic intake regimen to help yourself get back on the right track (source). Keep in mind that you need to go over your plans with a registered dietitian in order to formulate the best plan for your organism.
Boost Your Immune System
These days, it's difficult to go two steps without hearing about another miraculous way to boost our immune systems. In the post-COVID world, making sure that our bodies can ward off various nasty diseases and viruses is no longer pushed aside as irrelevant or unimportant. Thankfully, with the right probiotic supplements, you should be able to take care of your immune health, as well as your gut flora and vaginal health!
Bifidobacteria, present in many of the best probiotics, is responsible for boosting the immune function of your organism, alongside other benefits such as promoting gut health and keeping your vagina infection-free (source).
If you're serious about improving your immune system, though, you're going to need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and dietary habits, as well. It would also be best if you consulted your plan with a registered dietitian/nutritionist, just to make sure that you won't be cutting out anything essential from your diet, and that your planned supplements won't interfere with your other meds.
They're Great for Your Vaginal Flora
If you suffer from vaginal dryness, yeast infections, or UTIs, you should look into probiotics as a method of improving your vaginal microbiome; probiotics play a vital role in preventing harmful bacteria and other nasty particles. The helpful bacteria strains found in probiotics can rejuvenate your vaginal flora and with it, improve your overall health (source).
When it comes to the microbiome of your vagina, it all comes down to the number of bacteria. If the harmful ones outnumber the beneficial ones, you'll naturally be more prone to infections such as bacterial vaginosis and various other urinary tract infections. Now, women's bodies naturally produce an abundance of "good" bacteria, but not all of them do. If you often find yourself struggling with vaginal infections, it may just be a result of bacterial imbalance in your vagina, which can be easily fixed with probiotics.
Important Beneficial Bacteria
Finding a probiotic supplement that'll suit your needs means searching for a product that contains all of the right bacteria, with the right amount of colony-forming units (CFU) to make the desired impact. Below, you can find the three crucial types of bacteria that can help women during menopause, as well as other individuals.
The bifidobacterium lactis bacteria live in the gut and are some of the most helpful bacteria known to mankind. They help fight tumor growth, and constantly lower the inflammatory markers within your body (source). On top of that, they aid in reducing your BMI and cholesterol levels, not to mention the fact that they also enhance all sorts of immune functions your body would be much weaker without. If you're looking for a probiotic to take on a daily basis, it simply has to contain b. lactis!
Lactobacillus gasseri is a type of bacteria that is native to your vaginal flora. If you have a deficit of it, you may be more prone to various infections, as well as experience more intense hot flashes. Increasing the amount of L. Gasseri in your body won't only help your vagina, but it will also boost immunity, reduce the accumulation of belly fat and help you manage your allergies (source).
Bifidobacterium breve can be found in your intestine, and as such, it is intertwined with your digestive system. Supplementing with b. breve lowers the fat mass in your body and so this bacteria makes for one of the best probiotics for menopause since it helps keep the weight gain in check (source).
Top Probiotics for Women
Finding the best women's probiotics is not an easy task. With an overabundance of products that are said to help you manage menopause symptoms, or improve your vaginal health, only a handful of them can, in fact, fulfill the promises made in the advertisements. On top of that, there is also the question of spending a whole lot of money on a bunch of different supplements.
This is why you should try and go for a probiotic that combines all of the helpful bacteria in one pill, and doesn't require you to break the bank in order to afford it. A good example of such a supplement is Provitalize from BetterBody. It's a thermogenic probiotic supplement used by many menopausal women all over the United States. Not only does it contain the "holy trinity" of bacteria in b. lactis, l. gasseri, and b. breve, but it also has a few other active ingredients. These include turmeric root extract (a powerful antioxidant), moringa leaf extract (supports brain health), and curry leaf extract (improves digestion and prevents the greying of hair). The whole thing is packed into a delayed-release capsule, which prevents your stomach acid from dissolving the probiotics, allowing them to be absorbed by the intestine, where they can do the most good.
Remember that whatever probiotic you decide to go for in the end, you will also need to pick up some prebiotic fiber supplements to improve your body's ability to absorb the beneficial bacteria.