Did you know your vagina is home to millions of micro-organisms that are responsible for your vaginal health? Known as the “Vaginal Microbiome”, this community of more than 50 species of hard-working microbes has never gotten the attention it deserves, due in large part to society’s discomfort talking about the “V” word. Thankfully, as we gain a better understanding of these microbes and the important role they play in maintaining a woman’s health, the topic is slowly inching itself into mainstream conversation.
Healthy Vaginal Microbiome
Maintaining sufficient levels of “good” bacteria in the Vaginal Microbiome can mean the difference between a pleasant vs. foul odor, pregnancy vs. miscarriage—even a clean bill of health vs. certain types of cancer. A healthy vaginal microbiome is composed of 90% “good” bacteria, primarily of the Lactobacilli family, with the species Lactobacillus crispatus and Lactobacillus iners being in greatest abundance. These “good” bacteria help the vagina to self-clean and fight off infection by producing lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide which maintains a pH of 3.5. In this acidic environment, it is difficult–if not impossible–for bacteria to bind to epithelial cells and pathogens such as E. coli, candida and Staph to grow.
However, this vaginal environment is a fragile one and can get disrupted by any host of environmental and lifestyle factors, causing the pH to rise and the vaginal biome to enter a dangerous state of “dysbiosis”, or imbalance, increasing the risk of diseases like STI’s, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and ovarian cancer. Some common reasons for Vaginal Dysbiosis include:
Although antibiotics are widely prescribed to treat a host of vaginal infections, they can disrupt the vagina’s natural balance by killing both good and bad bacteria. This disruption and change provides a welcome environment for further infection if not followed up with a course or vaginal probiotics.
There is the chance that your male partner’s natural chemistry could disrupt the balance in your vagina and cause bacteria to grow. Semen is slightly alkaline (the opposite of acidic) and can upset the acidic pH level, encouraging the growth of “bad” bacteria which can lead to STI’s and other infections. For these reasons (and so many others) it is always best to use a condom.
Feminine Hygiene Products
Your vagina is capable of self-cleaning. It produces cervical fluid full of immune cells to defend against harmful invaders. Excessive cleaning with feminine sprays, powders, vaginal washes and douches can irritate and disrupt the good flora, altering the vaginal pH from an acidic to an alkaline environment, encouraging the growth of bacteria and increasing your risk of Bacterial Vaginosis (“BV”) and other infections. For this reason, most gynecologists don’t support internal cleansing products.
Damp clothing and warm temperatures
Bacteria and yeast thrive in warm, damp environments. The ideal body temperature for the vagina is 37 ° C or 98.6 ° F. Anything warmer creates a perfect breeding ground for bad bacteria and yeast. Avoid damp clothing, change pads frequently during your menstrual cycle and, in spite of popular claims, it is best to avoid vaginal steaming.
Tampons are an ideal breeding ground for bad bacteria, as they “hide” from your body’s infection-fighting “good” bacteria and your immune system in general. For this reason, it is always advised not to wear the same tampon for more than 8 hours. Also, one should never use scented tampons, as they may cause irritation and increase the risk of vaginal dysbiosis.
Probiotics Balance the Vaginal Microbiome
Most of us know about probiotics for the gut and how they help maintain and improve one’s overall health. But did you also know that probiotics can also preserve the homeostasis of the vaginal biome, balancing the “good” and “bad” bacteria, thereby keeping it free of infection and disease? Research has proven that probiotic supplementation replenishes the lactobacilli (“good” bacteria) in your vagina, especially when administered vaginally.
The VagiBiom® line of probiotic feminine care products is designed to balance the pH and nurture the “good” bacteria of the vaginal microbiome. Utilizing our Biomsify technology, a patented mix of probiotics, prebiotics, lactic acid and hyaluronic acid, contained in a natural coconut oil-based matrix—VagiBiom® delivers superior benefits to regulate your vaginal microbiome’s pH and keep the vaginal tissue healthy.