Women’s Health 101: Should You Start Taking Probiotics?

People often associate bacteria with sickness. However, not all bacteria are harmful. As a matter of fact, your body needs some species of bacteria (called good bacteria) to keep you healthy. Hence, it would help if you started taking probiotics.

What Are Probiotics?

Putting “contains probiotics” on a product makes the product sell better. But why? Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed. 

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, probiotics work by enabling the body to maintain a healthy community of microorganisms, producing substances with desirable effects, or influencing the body’s immune response. Probiotics can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods, such as soft cheeses, sour pickles, and sourdough bread. They can also be taken as a dietary supplement.

What Are the Benefits of Probiotics to Women?

  1. They help with gut health.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that promote a healthy digestive system. Because of this, many call probiotics “good bacteria.” Over the years, health experts have used probiotic supplements to help manage constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. 

  1. They boost digestion.

The most known benefit probiotics offer the human body is better digestion. Probiotics tone down digestion-related symptoms, such as gas, bloating, stomach pain, cramping, and constipation. More so, they are a helpful supplement for carbohydrate digestion and the production of various vitamins. Doctors prescribe antibiotics with probiotics because antibiotics can often trigger an infection in the large intestine and cause diarrhea. 

  1. They bolster immunity.

Probiotics are genuinely a fantastic supplement. Aside from digestive care, it can also offer benefits for the immune system. Probiotics are known to support the immune system by preventing the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Also, specific probiotics can help develop immune cells, like IgA-producing cells, T lymphocytes, and natural killer cells.

  1. They prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and treat vaginal infections.

Women are more susceptible to UTIs than men. The worst part about UTIs in women is their tendency to recur. In particular, Akgül and Karakan report a 24% recurrence. Probiotics, specifically Lactobacillus, can treat and prevent UTI by preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to urinary tract cells, lowering urine pH, and producing hydrogen peroxide in urine. 

Besides UTI, probiotics can also ward off the following conditions by balancing the vaginal microbiome:

  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Urogenital infections
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  1. They improve fertility.

Lactobacillus probiotics do not only treat and prevent UTIs and vaginal infections. They are also used as an alternative therapy for fertility problems. The recent study of Younis and Mahasneh reveals that exogenous administration of Lactobacillus probiotics assists in restoring the vaginal microbiome, which improves fertility and pregnancy outcomes. 

What Should You Know Before Taking Probiotics?

Probiotics come in many forms, but those added to foods are the best at maintaining health. Before you take any probiotic supplements, make sure to buy coated ones. Some probiotics cannot survive the acidity of your gut. If you cannot find a coated version, always take probiotic supplements with food.

Final Thoughts

Make probiotics a part of your everyday health regimen. Apart from gut health, they improve your digestion, immunity, and fertility and protect you against UTIs and vaginal infections.