More than 50 different species of tiny organisms live inside your vagina and are dominated by a bacteria called lactobacilli. This is called a vaginal microbiome. Lactobacillus, yeast, and bacteria naturally live in the lower reproductive tract and must balance to lower vaginal pH and protect against vaginal infections. 

Lactobacilli produces hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid that makes the vaginal pH acidic between 3.8 and 4.5. This acidic environment makes it difficult for harmful bacteria and yeast to grow that cause common infections like bacterial vaginosis or yeast. Hydrogen peroxide inhibits the overgrowth of bacteria and prevents them from adhering to the vaginal walls. Things like washing the vagina with perfume, non-pH balanced soaps, douches, sprays, deodorants, and semen can disrupt the normal pH of the vagina and reduce the number of Lactobacilli in the vagina. Postmenopausal women are also at risk for vaginal infections. Lower estrogen levels can cause the pH of the vagina to be higher. A higher vaginal pH can reduce the number of lactobacilli and lactic acid production necessary to keep the vagina healthy and free of vaginal infections.  

Many women experience recurrent bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. This is often caused by resistance to antibiotics, a recurrent source of infection, or a poorly functioning immune system. Studies have suggested that taking a probiotic daily can help restore the vagina's normal flora and decrease the risk of recurrent vaginal infections. An oral dose of over one billion organisms per day was found to maintain a lactobacilli-dominated vagina. Additional studies found that probiotics can also enhance the effects of antibiotics when treating vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. 

Probiotics work by blocking the adhesion of bacteria and yeast to the vagina and prevent the overgrowth and spread of bacteria and yeast to other areas of the vagina and bladder. Taking probiotics is a great way to maintain or restore a healthy vaginal microbiome for women who experience recurrent vaginal infections.

With love, 

Dr. Jodie Horton