By Rachel Strysik
There is a lot of information out there about how to care for your gut and vaginal microbiomes. There are products upon products to sift through and even we find it overwhelming at times. It’s hard to know what’s good for us and what could create an environment ripe for unwanted symptoms and conditions. We’re here to demystify these systems and how to care for them in the simplest, healthiest way possible.
Why is vaginal health important?
Vaginal microbiotas help by preventing pathogenic microorganisms from establishing themselves in the vagina. How do they do this? By producing defensive compounds such as lactic acid and antimicrobial substances. They act as a barrier and stimulate mucus production by the vaginal epithelium and support the immune system.
Interestingly, the vaginal microbiota is in good shape when its diversity is low, which is the opposite of gut microbiota. It consists of a wide number of bacteria, mainly Lactobacillus species, and a small number of fungi, mostly Candida albicans. If this diversity becomes unbalanced, it can lead to some infections that are less than fun.
Vaginal health concerns related to the microbiome
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). This is a common vaginal infection that happens when normal bacteria that live in your vagina overgrow, causing a bacterial imbalance and changes in vaginal pH. Symptoms include:
- Off-white, grey, or greenish color vaginal discharge
- “Fishy” discharge smell
- A “fishy” smell that is stronger after sex or during your menstrual cycle
- Treatment may include antibiotics and studies have shown that taking probiotics may treat and even help prevent BV
- Yeast infections. A type of vaginitis where the vagina is swollen, painful, and creates a discharge. Symptoms include:
- An itchy sensation in your vagina and vulva
- A thick, white discharge with the consistency of cottage cheese
- Redness and swelling of your vagina and vulva
- Small cuts or tiny cracks in the skin of your vulva
- A burning feeling when you urinate
- Traditional treatment is antifungal medication but probiotics can also be helpful when it comes to yeast infections
*A note about vaginal pH levels: The pH levels of your vagina play a role in preventing infections, supporting healthy pregnancies, and any hormonal changes, so it’s important to make sure you’re doing what you can to keep them balanced. Probiotics may help your vaginal pH balance. Chat with your doctor about which one is best for you.
Why is gut health important?
The state of gut health affects almost every physiological process in the human body. The gut contains 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells and takes in and processes nutrients while defending against harmful agents—talk about a powerhouse! If you have chronic gut issues, you may have symptoms or conditions like these:
- Acid reflux
- Food sensitivities
- Sugar cravings
- Skin rashes/eczema
- Depression/low mood
- Brain fog/memory issues
- Vitamin D3 deficiency
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Autoimmune disorders
- Compromised immune system
- Hormonal imbalances
- Chronic inflammation
- “Leaky Gut” Syndrome
The connection between gut and vaginal microbiomes
If the state of our gut health has an effect on nearly every physiological process in our bodies, it’s no surprise that caring for it may also have a domino effect on our vaginal health. The gut harbors a stable community of potentially harmful bacteria that can travel into your vaginal microbiota. Put plainly, what’s good for gut health may be harmful to vaginal health.
For bacteria such as E. coli and fungi such as Candida species, this is the case. While these microorganisms are normal in the rectum, when they move to and grow in the vagina, it causes an imbalance of the vaginal microbiota which can lead to infection. If you’ve had a UTI, you’re probably familiar with E. coli as it’s the most prominent perpetrator.
Some studies support the idea that oral probiotics allow the migration of probiotic microorganisms from the intestine to the vagina, where they also benefit vaginal health. This suggests that if your gut microbiota is happy and healthy, it’s likely your vaginal microbiota will be as well. We love when one supplement can have multifaceted uses!
Semaine supplements that support a healthy microbiota
Our Pre+Probiotic was specifically formulated to benefit your gut but is also great for vaginal health. Our prebiotic blend helps feed the good bacteria in your intestines and the probiotics add good bacteria to both your vaginal and gut microbiomes. Ginger helps calm your stomach and intestines and supports gastric emptying, which prevents indigestion.
Urinary Tract Cleanse & Protect is the perfect companion to help prevent UTIs in the event that E. coli comes in contact with your urethra. It’s also a no-brainer if you’ve struggled with chronic UTIs. Polyphenols from cranberry clear out the bacteria while hibiscus boosts your immunity while gently flushing the bladder.
Supporting your vaginal and gut health can have wonderful ramifications on your overall health. Remember that 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so taking an active role in supporting it is key. It can be as simple as adding probiotics into your daily routine to help keep both microbiomes happy and healthy.