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28.10.2015, admin
Home About Live Cultures Live Cultures About Live Cultures Live Cultures What are Probiotics? Due to the proximity of the vagina to the anus, it is much easier in women for pathogenic bacteria to cross over from the GI tract to the urogenital tract and cause a situation of dysbiosis there, than it is in men. Beneficial flora, or probiotics, inhabit the urogenital tract (this spans the urinary tract and vaginal tract in women) as well as the gut. Clinical trials have shown that a number of strains of Lactobacillus are particularly effective at helping to treat and prevent female intimate health problems such as cystitis, thrush and bacterial vaginosis.
There have been a number of clinical trials that support this theory, including a 2004 study1 at the Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics. An article3 in the ‘World Journal of Urology’ in 2006 further validated this evidence, and stated that when it comes to the prevention of urinary tract infections, not all Lactobacilli are effective. As mentioned, the vaginal flora will require different strains to those recommended for gut health.
One symptom to look at when discussing probiotics specifically for female digestive health, is the problem of bloating, which is reported to be much more common in women than men.
Whilst both situations have slightly different physiological causes, the result is the same; digestion is impaired and food is not effectively broken down, causing bloating and wind.
If constipation is involved (again a condition reported to be much more common in women), a probiotic supplement containing B.


Foods that prevent constipation should also be considered, alongside specific herbs and nutrients that help to balance hormones, such as magnesium and vitamin B6. For more information regarding probiotics and digestive health, read about probiotics and IBS here. When selecting a probiotic supplement each individual should choose a product based on their own personal requirements and symptoms.
1) Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics ‘Nucleic acid-based diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis and improved management using probiotic lactobacilli’ 2004, J Med Food, p223-228. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. The flora of a healthy vagina is made up of different strains of bacteria to the gut flora, and hence should be considered separately when you are choosing a probiotic.
These specific strains (in particular Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14®) have been clinically trialled to survive transit through the gut, and then successfully colonise the vagina and bladder where they exert their beneficial effects.
This study; a randomised, placebo-controlled trial, showed that the vaginal microflora in women with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) was restored to a more favourable, Lactobacilli-dominant environment following 2 months of a daily oral intake of the probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14®. Whilst the question of the best probiotic strains for digestive health conditions is not gender specific, here we explore a few digestive conditions which are reportedly more common in women.
This can either be a constant problem, or the bloating can be cyclical and worsen at certain points in the menstrual cycle, due to fluctuating hormone levels.


If this is the case, healthcare professionals might be interested to read about our product 'One week flat' (formerly known as 'For a flat stomach'). Men and women have the same basic flora in the gut, so gender on its own is not a factor when it comes to selecting the right probiotic for digestive health. The only implication of gender on our balance of intestinal flora comes from the effect that the various sex hormones have on it, and the tendency for some women to experience GI upset at certain points in their menstrual cycle. Avoiding constipation is important when managing hormonally related conditions as ‘old’ or spent hormones that have been processed by the liver, are eliminated via the faeces. If you're looking for the best probiotic, and not necessarily in terms of vaginal health, take a look at our recent blog post, 'Want the Best Probiotics?
When constipated, these hormones can be re-absorbed back in to the bloodstream from the faecal matter due to the longer transit time, leading to hormonal disturbances.



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