Three Common Questions about Probiotics and Women’s Health

What are some of the benefits of probiotics on women’s health?

Probiotics have been demonstrated to have many benefits on women’s health. Probiotics are living microorganism supplements, most of which are bacteria or yeast. They are similar to the naturally occurring microorganisms found in the intestines, or gut, of every person. Three of the most common probiotics found in supplements are Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, and Bifidobacterium. These probiotics are often nicknamed “friendly bacteria.”Probiotics Women's Health

In addition to the ordinary advantages of probiotics, they can also bolster women’s health.  For women who are breastfeeding, some studies have shown benefits for both mom and baby.  Here are some of the specific benefits of probiotics on the health of women:

  • decreased risk of cervix cancer
  • reduction in diarrhea related to infection and antibiotic use
  • improvement of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women decreased
  • reduction in vaginal candida & yeast infections
  • decrease in vaginitis (vaginosis)
  • improvement in postpartum weight reduction
  • decrease in pediatric atopic dermatitis

What if I’m pregnant or nursing?  Are probiotic supplements safe for pregnant or nursing women?

Solid evidence shows that probiotics supplements used during pregnancy is helpful. Since probiotics aid your digestive system to work more efficiently, they reduce the likelihood of experiencing health complications.  For infants that are nursing, benefits to immunity and allergy sensitivity have also been seen.

The use of probiotics by pregnant or nursing women does not pose safe risks based on reviews of medical literature. For example, Elias, Bozzo, Einarson’s article “Are probiotics safe for use during pregnancy and lactation?” indicated no general safety risks among pregnant or nursing mothers [1].  However, you should consult your doctor to be completely certain that any supplement, including probiotics, is safe for your particular situation.

The use of probiotics by pregnant women is common as diarrhea and constipation are two frequently experienced discomforts during pregnancy. There is a strong link between probiotics and digestive health. In a review of multiple research studies, from 45 to 93% of midwives have prescribed some form of probiotic supplement to expecting mothers according to a article in the Canadian Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology [2].

Where can I get probiotics for women’s health?

Probiotics are mostly commonly consumed in live-cultured yogurt or fermented foods. Supplements are another common method for obtaining Probiotics.  Many probiotics supplements are packaged in pill form. This helps to effectively deliver probiotics to your gut where they will do the most benefit.

While most probiotic supplements are good for both men and women, find a probiotic supplement specifically designed for women’s health.  Probiotics for women’s health include “Ulta 30 Women’s Probiotic (Island’s Miracle)”, “Women’s Vaginal Ultimate Flora Probiotic” (RenewLife), and “Mother’s Select Probiotics”.

 

 

[1] Can Fam Physcian, 2011 Mar; 57(3); 299-301.

[2] J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2009 Jun;31(6):542-52.

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