The Top 5 Benefits of Probiotics for Women
When it comes to probiotic needs, as with many other things, there are quite a few differences between men and women. Although many probiotics are beneficial to both genders, the specific applications of each one can vary greatly. For example, certain strains may have a particular effect on gut health; however, the extent of their impact may differ between men and women. Additionally, some strains may aid in urogenital concerns, which would which would clearly be much different/unique to each gender.
Digestive And Vaginal Health
Even though the GI tract and urogenital regions are completely separate systems of the body, the proximity of the anus to the vagina means that when one or both of these systems are out of balance, problems can easily travel from one area to the other. When pathogenic microbes travel from the gastrointestinal region to the vaginal region, issues such as dysbiosis may possibly occur.
This is an example of a microbial imbalance in the body, as healthy bacteria, which will be discussed below, are overtaken by harmful bacteria. Such harmful bacteria can cause several health-related problems, specifically in the digestive tract. To better understand the role probiotics play in women's health, we will take a more in-depth look into what exactly they are and how they might help with your specific needs
What Are Probiotics?
Live micro-organisms, or “healthy” bacteria and fungi, are known as probiotics. Over the past decade, probiotics have become increasingly popular due to a vast amount of research reporting on their many beneficial properties. Many people have found effective, all-natural ways of addressing specific common health issues through this supplementation. This is especially true for women.
In addition to mainly being comprised of bacteria, some probiotics also include some types of yeast. Although the microbiome is largely made up of bacteria, fungi are also a huge part of the microbiome, as well. These microbes – bacteria and fungi – live throughout the body and are highly concentrate din the digestive tract. One of their main functions is to slow or prevent the growth of harmful microbes, especially to the point where the bad overtake the good. This leads to the imbalances mentioned previously. The bacteria and fungi in the gut also serve to assist in supplying essential nutrients and supporting various functions in the body.
There are several reasons why these imbalances may occur, including:
- Antibiotic side effects
- Serious or chronic illness
- Dietary habits
- Lifestyle choices
- Medication side-effects
In addition to the benefits that probiotics can have on our two main points of focus, (digestive and vaginal health), they have also shown promise in addressing atopic dermatitis, obesity, and many other health-related problems As previously stated, evidence suggests that specific probiotic strains are more effective at treating certain conditions than others. So, it is essential to select a probiotic with high amounts of the particular strains that have been shown to effectively help with your specific health needs, which we will now take a closer look.
Speed Up Digestion
Before getting into the specific strains of probiotics, it is important to note the role that diet plays in digestive health. Because an unhealthy diet inhibits proper digestion and overall gut health, if you do not eat properly, the type or number of supplements you take will likely be of little help.
Gut bacteria need lots of fiber to feed on. This means making sure that you have a diet which includes a lot of foods that are fiber-rich. Gut bacteria feed on fiber, which is why your diet needs to include fiber-rich foods. Fruits and vegetables are an obvious choice, as are complex carbohydrates such as legumes and brown rice. Obvious choices include fruits, vegetables, and healthy wheat carbohydrates, such as brown rice. Since gut health and vaginal health flourish on different types of probiotics, due to the different flora that are present in each microbiome, it is critical to take the time to research which specific strains are best for those needs, although some species may offer benefits to both systems.
When speaking of digestive and gut health exclusively, amylase is an enzyme that assists with overall digestion by helping to break down sugars and starches. This ingredient is often found in the formulas of effective, multi-strain probiotic supplements. So? Say more. Why do we care? Because it helps with biofilms? This is so random.
Below we will discuss a couple of common digestive issues and the probiotics best suited to address them.
Decrease Bloating & Pain
Medical research and data show that bloating and stomach pain occurs significantly more frequently in women than in men. CITATION. Bloating and pain could be related to your cycle, but if it’s on-going during the month, it may actually be from another condition. So identifying when the symptoms occur is crucial to proper management. However, in some cases, when it results from some other condition, it can be a constant problem.
Regardless of the exact cause, the end result is always the same: bloating and gas occur as food that was not properly broken-down passes through the digestive tract. Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus) has been shown to greatly reduce bloating symptoms.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus) is another strain of this species that has been shown to help reduce bloating symptoms. In addition to that, L. rhamnosus has also been shown to help address issues with diarrhea. One of the main benefits is that it can inhibit the growth of certain Salmonella bacteria. Additionally, Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) is a yeast that also supports the digestive tract and promotes gut health to minimize bloating and diarrhea.
Constipation is another problem that is more common in women than men, especially during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy. Various reliable studies have also pointed to strains of the Lactobacillus genus as helpful bacteria in battling this problem. In addition, Bifidobacterium breve (B. breve) has also been shown to reduce constipation, as this intestinal bacteria aids in the breakdown of food CITATION; I don’t think it has anything to do with helping to breakdown food….
The concerns associated with constipation are much more serious than a little stomach discomfort or pain. When the body is not properly breaking down and digesting food, used hormones, which are expelled from the body in the feces, can reintegrate back into the system, creating unhealthy and even dangerous imbalances.
Improve Vaginal Health
Hormonal and bacterial imbalances in the vaginal microbiome can lead to numerous health concerns ranging from mild to serious. Common examples include cystitis, bacterial vaginosis, and vulvovaginal candidiasis. A number of different Lactobacillus strains have shown great success in helping women reduce the symptoms, and even prevent the development of, these and other problems, showing this genus’s benefits in terms of both gut and urogenital health. CITATIONS
L rhamnosus is particularly suited for improving vaginal health. In fact, it is one of the few probiotics that has been examined in numerous clinical trials and proven to successfully survive the digestive tract and settle in the bladder and vagina CITATION. This makes it a powerful ally against many vaginal infections, as well as UTIs.
Improve Overall Health
It is a bit more difficult to pinpoint the exact impact that probiotics have on a person’s overall health. This is because the current research has focused more on specific, individual health conditions directly related to certain physiological systems, such as the gut, urogenital, and even neurological and cardiovascular systems.
Most studies have been concerned with uncovering the benefits of single-strain probiotics, whereas most supplements contain mixtures. However, it may be reasonable to conclude that your overall physical health and well being will be positively impacted when you take a probiotic that contains multiple individual strains proven to support and aid different body functions.
With all of the insightful research dedicated to unlocking the many incredible benefits that probiotics have on health, particularly female health, the only thing left to do is find out which strains are best suited to address your personal needs. It is always best to consult with a physician to determine what might work best for you. At BIOHM Health, our specialized formula contains all of the aforementioned strains of probiotics, which aid in digestive and vaginal health. Contact us today to learn more about how it may be able to help you.