How to Care for Your Vajayjay: Probiotics for Candida & Yeast
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 2 on Yeast:
Yeast vaginitis is characterized by white discharge, local itching, and irritation. The majority of cases are caused by Candida albicans, but C. glabrata, C. krusei, and C. tropicalis can be problematic.
It is diagnosed by visual detection of dense numbers of yeast cells on a vaginal smear, and by physical examination and the presence of a white, mucous-like yeast discharge.
Yeast infections are directly related to an imbalance in vaginal bacteria. In particular, a decrease in H2O2-producing species (L. acidophilus, L. gasseri, and L. vaginalis) and an increase of non-H2O2-producing L. iners can be observed when Candida overgrowth occurs.
This finding suggests some hypotheses regarding the role of lactobacilli in protecting women from Candida (CA) infection:
Women with a vaginal flora dominated by H2O2-producing Lactobacillus species have a minor risk to contract CA
H2O2, rather than other metabolites produced by lactobacilli, such as lactic acid, could be responsible for the control of Candida overgrowth.
Several factors can affect the ability of beneficial H2O2-producing lactobacilli to adhere to vaginal epithelial cells, such as hormonal changes (particularly estrogen), vaginal pH, and glycogen content.
Frequency of sexual intercourse (> or =1 sex act per week) was associated with loss of colonization with H2O2-producing lactobacilli, as was antibiotic use.
High concentrations of estrogen increases adherence of lactobacilli to vaginal epithelial cells.
When estrogen levels decrease with menopause, there is also a decrease in lactobacilli present in the vaginal tract of postmenopausal women.
Postmenopausal women are also more susceptible to urogenital infections, supporting the theory that colonization of the vagina by commensal lactobacilli serves as a protection from these pathogens.
The methods by which these organisms inhibit pathogens from taking over, reduce pathogen virulence, and modulate host defenses are still unclear, but they appear to involve an ability to adhere to and to populate the vaginal epithelium (outermost skin layer) and mucin (mucus) layer.
Probiotics for Candida and Yeast
The method of delivery for probiotic lactobacilli has been via topical instillation into the vagina.
The idea of taking lactobacilli orally to repopulate the vagina is based upon the question “if urogenital pathogens (bad bacteria and candida) can do this, why cannot lactobacilli (the good guys)?"
In a probiotics for candida & yeast trial conducted by Cribby, Taylor & Reid, the organisms were delivered orally in a milk base and then recovered from the rectum; therefore supporting the concept that ingested strains could pass through the intestine, reach the rectum, and potentially ascend to the vagina.
Keeping the colon supplied with good bacteria seemed a likely way to benefit female urogenital health due to their general proximity, however, in the 1980s, Gregor Reid found that dairy lactobacilli such as L. acidophilus didn’t have the right stuff to take up residence where he wanted them.
Clinical studies were undertaken with the intention of providing more women with access to the strains that would colonize and benefit women’s health.
The production of H2O2 is closely linked to bacterial species and is a predictor for sustained long-term colonization of the vagina.
A two-year shelf life capsule formulation was developed and used successfully in a number of studies.
An oral dose of over one billion organisms per day was found to maintain a lactobacilli-dominated vaginal presence.
The time for this intervention to affect the vaginal tract is longer than topical vaginal instillation, and depends on viability of the strains as they pass through the stomach and gut.
In addition, the load of lactobacilli that can be delivered this way is clearly lower than via the vagina.
An advantage of the oral approach may be the potential for the lactobacilli to reduce the transfer of yeast and pathogenic bacteria from the rectum to the vagina, which could potentially lower the risk of infection.
Probiotics With Studies
There are a few probiotic products that have been developed with the intention of preventing or treating Candida.
Federal regulations prevent health claims to be made by companies that have not submitted their products to the FDA for approval, a very expensive and arduous process, but there are many scientific studies on bacteria for vaginal health.
Jarrow Formulas states on the insert included with their FemDophilus product that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 discovered by Urex Biotech will “colonize and protect the vaginal tract”.
They have done their due diligence, published the details of the placebo-controlled trial and found a good supplemental combination for vaginal health.
Want to read the rest of the paper on BV, Yeast and UTIs? Click here.
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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.
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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.