It can be very difficult to determine how probiotics could affect a woman's discharge, as there are many reasons why a woman's discharge might change in smell and consistency; post-period, bacterial infection or pregnancy can all cause a change in a woman's discharge. Therefore linking any changes back to just taking probiotics to near-impossible. Although it is not believed that taking probiotics can cause more discharge, it is believed that probiotic bacteria can help make sure discharge is healthy by supporting vaginal flora.
What do probiotics do to discharge?
Antibiotics are still considered to be the best aid when it comes to tackling bacterial infections, treating any significant changes in discharge (colour, smell, consistency) and supporting a woman's flora. Probiotic supplements are believed, to be able to help improve symptoms for women who already have a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Probiotics are also considered to be effective in preventing a potential infection as the probiotic bacteria works to balance out the pH levels of the vagina. A pH-balanced vagina is considered the healthiest environment for ‘friendly’ bacteria to thrive.
To support this, many experts believe that certain Lactobacillus strains (and species) can help maintain vaginal balance as the probiotic bacteria can stick to vaginal surfaces thus making it more difficult for ‘bad’ bacteria to grow. Furthermore, Lactobacillus bacteria may also be capable of eliminating ‘harmful’ bacteria to stop them from spreading. The happier our vaginal flora is, the more likely it is to be pH balanced and healthy; therefore eliminating several potential risks that could negatively affect discharge.
If antibiotics and probiotics can work together to ensure a bacterial infestation is being cleared up and her flora re-balanced; then together this can positively impact discharge to return to a healthy state:
- White or clear in colour
- No unpleasant smell
- Watery or thick consistency (but not clumpy)
What do probiotics do for the female body?
Probiotic supplements are believed to be very beneficial for many reasons - especially for women's health. High-quality probiotics supplements are known to be able to boost a women's energy levels, reduce symptoms of autoimmune diseases, and combat fatigue & stress by reducing cortisol levels. Furthermore, the benefits of probiotics have also been linked to supporting a healthy gut which is important for everyone; including women. If a woman is experiencing digestive or gut problems (due to an abundance of unhealthy bacteria) then these side effects could cause issues to a woman's menstrual cycle as well as cause a significant amount of additional pain and discomfort.
The gut is like our internal ‘gatekeeper’ if it is healthy and regularly supported then there should be little to no pain as a result. However, if the gut lacks a healthy balance of bacteria, this could cause a cycle of problems; stomach cramping, bloating, inflammation, bowel obstructions, heartburn and in severe cases could affect a women's hormones therefore her menstrual cycle. Probiotics can help to support a women's gut health to ensure that it does not trigger any symptoms like the ones mentioned above. If a woman is experiencing stomach cramps, bloating or heightened PMS symptoms, these can all be linked to gut health! Keeping the gut healthy can work to help keep the vaginal flora healthy as well as the rest of the digestive and bowel process.
Should women take probiotics every day?
This is a question that we see being asked regularly online and we wanted to help you avoid any confusion; so generally speaking yes probiotics can be safely taken daily and are usually recommended to take just one probiotic supplement a day! Now, there are a few exceptions to this rule as not everyone will be suitable for probiotics; those with underlying health conditions and/or if they are taking prescription medication as their means of treatment. We have discussed this before here on the Health insiders Blog and we just wanted to relay this message again that probiotics are natural supplements and not medicine. They are made of live and stable bacteria that are believed to be highly beneficial for our overall health; especially when it comes to balancing bacteria in the gut and supporting a woman's vaginal flora.
Do probiotics affect hormones?
There is research to suggest that probiotic supplements can not only help manage our bacteria but can also help manage mood disorders like anxiety and stress. For instance, cortisol or a supplement that can help regulate cortisol can help rebalance the stress hormones. Stress can directly impact our mental health and hormones; an imbalance of the stress hormone can even lead to issues with insulin resistance. Now, research on this subject is limited but some studies support the belief that probiotics can improve the interaction between the gut microbiome and estrogen levels. Estrogens are a group of hormones vital for a woman's reproduction and sexual development; probiotics are believed to restore a healthy estrogen balance. Furthermore, probiotics are also linked to improving acne, resolving vaginal and urinary tract infections and helping balance pH levels.
It is important for every woman to understand her body, and what they could implement into their daily routine to ensure they are getting all the vital bacteria to help keep their hormones balanced and vaginal flora healthy. This also helps to ensure vaginal discharge stays healthy! The best defence against bacterial infections or changes to your discharge is still believed to be antibiotics whilst probiotics can do more than a sufficient job of supporting antibiotics.Be sure to take a look at look at our Vitaflora women's probiotic if you would like to support your vaginal flora; keeping it balanced to avoid bacterial infections or hormonal imbalances.