top of page
  • Liza Boone

How to Care for Your Vajayjay: Probiotics & BV, STDs and Pregnancy

We all need to know this.


Whether you are comfortable talking about it or not, you have likely had a run-in with yeast, BV or a UTI in your adult life.


Yes, men, that means you too.


Before I changed my diet, I struggled with candida on a regular basis, and have a healthy experience with the other two.


I wrote a paper on it that is waaaay too long so I broke it into bits to make it easy to digest. This is part 3 on Probiotics for BV, STDs and Pregnancy.



Urinary tract infections (UTI) occur when pathogenic bacteria ascend from the vagina and replicate on, and sometimes within, the bladder’s lining.

These infections are frequent among women, with an estimated 50% suffering at some time in their lives.[3]

Symptoms and signs include abdominal pain, pain and difficulty urinating, and the presence of white blood cells, and occasionally blood, in the urine.


The most frequent pathogen is the bacteria E. coli, followed by Enterococcus faecalis, and Staphylococcus saprophyticus.[3]

There are effective diagnostic methods involving urinalysis for pathogens.

In a portion of patients, the E. coli invade the bladder epithelium and form dense biofilms that are stubbornly resistant to antibiotics. [3]

Additionally, E. coli is the most common Gram-negative bacterium that causes meningitis, particularly during the neonatal period.[8]


The female anatomy is arranged such that infection can easily take hold since the urethral opening is located very close to the rectum which is a common source of pathogenic bacteria.

These bacteria can easily cross the perineum (the narrow band of flesh between the anus and the vagina) to the urethra.

Bacterial invasion can result in acute cystitis, the most common type of UTI.[5]


A more rare condition is urethritis, a condition in which only the urethra is inflamed. When bacteria from the bladder ascend to the kidneys via the ureters, they can cause a more serious infection called pyelonephritis.[5]


In women with no history of UTI, their vagina and perineum is most commonly colonized by lactobacilli, while in women with recurrent UTI there is an inverse association between lactobacilli and E. coli, suggesting that lactobacilli play a role in preventing infection. [3]


In mouse model studies of UTIs, researchers introduced specific strains of Lactobacillus intraurethrally and found that Lactobacillus worked as an effective treatment and preventive of UTIs.[5]

Efforts to substitute prophylactic antibiotics with probiotics, especially in children with recurrent UTI and perhaps some patients preparing to undergo surgery, are worthy of pursuit.[3]


Pre-term Pregnancy

There is a risk from these infections that is life-threatening.

Pre-term births are the major cause of neonatal mortality in developed countries.


When a baby is born before its organs have fully developed, both short and long-term complications arise.

Preterm deliveries may be caused by persistent infections, such as bacterial vaginosis.[6]

When a woman is pregnant, antibiotics may or may not prevent preterm birth even once BV has been “cured”.[6]


The presence of lactobacilli producing high levels of H2O2 in the vagina of this population of pregnant women was associated with a reduced risk of bacterial vaginosis at 20 weeks' gestation and subsequent chorioamnionitis (an inflammation of the fetal membranes due to a bacterial infection).[12]


H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide)-producing lactobacilli are able to reduce the incidence of ascending infections of the uterus and the subsequent production of proinflammatory molecules which are important in the pathogenesis of chorioamnionitis and preterm birth.[12]


Keeping these infections at bay during pregnancy is of obvious importance.


In addition, E. coli, the number one bacterial cause of UTI, is the most common gram-negative bacterium that causes meningitis, particularly during the neonatal period.[8]


A healthy vaginal environment may help women carry full-term and keep a newborn’s exposure to meningitis to a minimum.


Additional Benefits – STDs


Lactobacilli, principally the strains that are H2O2-producing, may have a protective effect against vaginal colonization by pathogenic species such as those that cause BV and possibly human immunodeficiency virus and gonorrhea.[12]


Studies have also shown that the absence or depletion of lactobacilli in the vagina is associated with overgrowth of anaerobic pathogens causing BV which results in significantly increased risk for HIV, as well as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Herpes Simplex Virus infections.[6]


By mechanisms not yet understood, BV displaces lactobacilli, elevating vaginal pH and creating an environment within which the pathogens survive and can infect the host.[6]


Maintenance of H2O2-producing lactobacilli in the vagina may reduce risk of infection by sexually-transmitted diseases.


Want to Read More?

Click here for part 4.


References


1. Bifodan. (2010). Clinical Benefits. Retrieved June 20, 2010, from EcoVag: http://www.ecovag.com/Clinical_Benefits-26.aspx

2. Bifodan. (2010). Probiotic Strains. Retrieved June 20, 2010, from EcoVag: http://www.ecovag.com/Probiotic_Strains-24.aspx

3. Cribby, S., Taylor, M., & Reid, G. (2008). Vaginal Microbiota and the Use of Probiotics. Interdisciplinary Perspective of Infectious Disease , 23-28.

4. Jarrow Formulas. (2006). FemDophilus. FemDophilus . Los Angeles, CA, USA: Jarrow Formulas.

5. Life Extension. (2010). Health Concerns Urinary Tract Infections. Retrieved May 25, 2010, from Life Extension: www.lef.org/protocols/prtcl-107.shtml

6. Reid, G., Burton, J., & Devillard, E. (2004, March 30). The Rationale for Probiotics in Female Urogenital Healthcare. Retrieved August 23, 2009, from WebMD: PMC1140735

7. Sachs, J. S. (2007). Good Germs, Bad Germs. New York: Hill and Wang.

8. State Key Laboratory for Moleclular Virology and Genetic Engineering. (2003). Main. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from Virulence Factors of Pathogenic Bacteria: www.mgc.ac.cn/VFs/main.htm

9. State Key Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Genetic Engineering. (2003). Escherichia. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from Virulence Factors of Pathogenic Bacteria: www.mgc.ac.cn/cgi-bin/VFs/genus.cgi?Genus=Escherichia

10. Vallor, A., Antonio, M., Hawes, S., & Hillier, S. (2001). Factors associated with acquisition of, or persistent colonization by, vaginal lactgobacillil: role of hydrogen peroxide production. Journal of Infectious Disease , 1431-6.

11. Vitali, B., Pugliese, C., Biagi, E., Candela, M., Turroni, S., Bellen, G., et al. (2007). Dynamics of Vaginal Bacterial Communities in Women Developing Bacterial Vaginosis, Candidiasis, or No Infection, Analyzed by PCR-Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis and Real-Time PCR. Applied Environmental Microbiology , 5731-5741.

12. Wilks, M., Wiggins, R., Whiley, A., Hennessy, E., Warwick, S., Porter, H., et al. (Feb. 2004). Identification and H2O2 Production of Vaginal Lactobacilli from Pregnant Women at High Risk of Preterm Birth and Relation with Outcome. Journal of Clinical Microbiology , 713-717. doi: 10.1128/JCM.42.2.713-717.2004.


Any recommendations are options and should not be construed as medical advice. Any information given is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or conditions.

Comments


bottom of page