International Women’s Day – focus on a little-talked-about area of women’s health

Today is International Women’s Day and we thought it was an appropriate time to talk about an area of women’s health that is not often discussed ‘out loud’ – the vaginal microbiome.

As a company that produces friendly bacteria products, the microbiome (the microorganisms that live both on and in our body’s) is something that we talk about every day – and these discussions include the vaginal microbiome.

And we thought you lovely ladies might be interested in some further information on this subject…

womens-blog

The Vaginal Microbiome

The vaginal microbiome has a significant role in the health and disease of the female reproductive tract, potentially helping to protect against vaginal infections and inflammatory conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis (BV).

There are several hundred different strains of bacteria in the vagina, but they are dominated by a small number of Lactobacillus species, which produce lactic acid and help to lower the vaginal pH under 4.5. This acidic environment helps to protect the vaginal tract against some pathogenic bacteria species, which may cause infection.

Studies have shown that this dominance by specific Lactobacillus strains is key to supporting vaginal health and the more diverse the number of bacterial species in the vaginal microbiome, the more prone we are to problems in this area.

And the bacterial balance in this area may be affected by a number of factors, including hormonal changes, menstruation, childbirth, the gastrointestinal microbiota, using hygiene products and lubricants, sexual interaction and use of contraceptives and antibiotics.

Talk about it

The taboo nature of conversations around the vaginal tract can deter women from seeking advice and talking about any symptoms that they experience in this area and can cause them to worry about information they have seen or heard regarding infections, viruses and cervical cancer.

If you have concerns, please talk to your doctor and remember that vaginal homeostasis (balance) is supported by a number of natural bodily functions as well as by our bacteria – these include cell turnover, mucus production, local immune defences and the overall immune system.

Supporting these functions may help to support the health of your vaginal tract generally – and taking additional Lactobacillus bacteria may help to support the vaginal microbiome, as orally-supplemented friendly bacteria have been shown to reach the vagina through transition via the anus and the perineal and vulval skin.