Most people think of probiotics as primarily for digestion, but the scope of probiotics goes far beyond that, to encompass much, much more. One of the lesser known uses for probiotics are for women’s vaginal health. There are specific probiotic strains that can help to naturally combat yeast infections, bacterial vaginal infections, as well as urinary tract infections.
The company Jarrow has two products formulated for vaginal and urinary tract health with scientifically researched strains- their shelf-stable JarrowDophilus for Women and then their refrigerated probiotic, FemDophilus.
The two probiotics offer similar benefits but differ in their use. The refrigerated FemDophilus is used more as a treatment for acute infections. It works very well to knock out yeast overgrowth and/or harmful bacteria in the vaginal tract and urinary tract. Where the JarrowDophilus Women is more for maintaining healthy vaginal flora on a regular basis.
The vaginal tract has its own specific microbiome, where good bacteria is meant to crowd out the proliferation of negative bacteria and candida. Because of this environment, targeted women’s probiotics are especially beneficial in treating and preventing vaginal infections.
Yeast infections are what most women think of when they have vaginal issues- the symptoms of yeast infections most commonly include a thick whitish discharge, irritation during intercourse or urination, and itching. It’s estimated that 75% of women will have at least one occurrence of vaginal yeast overgrowth in their lives, though some women are more prone to yeast infections and will have many reoccurrences.
Bacterial vaginosis (or BV) is less well known, but is the most common vaginal infection, estimated to affect 10-29% of women at any given time. BV can be transmitted sexually but can also occur even if a woman is not sexually active. Bacterial vaginosis is traditionally treated with antibiotics, but it has a very high reinfection rate (often 30% of infections reoccur the month following treatment and 80% of women experience recurrent BV infections after nine months). Due to this rate of BV reoccurrence, natural treatment with effective, targeted vaginal probiotics can be especially beneficial, since it treats the causes rather than just trying to make symptoms go away. Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include thin uniform gray, yellow, or whitish discharge and and a “fishy” vaginal odor.
Treatment of BV is especially important since it can increase the risk of contracting STDs as well as increasing the risk of preterm labor during pregnancy.
In our experience, Jarrow’s FemDophilus probiotic is the best women’s probiotic available for treating acute vaginal infections and yeast overgrowth. The clinically researched strains it contains have been shown to be effective in bringing women’s bodies back into a state of proper vaginal health, both when used alone as well as in conjunction with conventional treatments (studies have even shown that the probiotic strains in FemDophilus are able to increase the effectiveness of conventional drugs treatments for both BV and yeast infections).
Thus far, I’ve mostly focused on the benefits of Jarrow’s FemDophilus, but they also have a product called JarrowDophilus for Women which is an impressive formula as well. While FemDophilus is meant to be more of a treatment for acute infections, JarrowDophilus for Women is a maintenance probiotic, formulated to encourage a healthy vaginal and urinary tract. It is especially helpful for women who have reocurrances of BV or yeast infections, since it promotes a healthy vaginal microbiome that works to crowd out those negative overgrowths, stopping reinfection.
Both are wonderful products with impressive clinically documented benefits. Stop by the store for more information and so we can help you find the product that’s right for you.