Surely at some point in your life you have noticed changes in your vaginal flora, which have led to suffering from a vaginal infection. And the thing is, 75% of women suffer from an infection at least once in their lives, and gynecologists point out that the use of antibiotics or dangerous vaginal soaps is destroying the vaginal flora.
The vaginal flora, also called vaginal microbiota , is a set of beneficial bacteria that are found in a woman’s intimate area and prevent harmful organisms from proliferating there, capable of causing infections and vaginal problems. The most common bacteria found in the vaginal flora are Lactobacillus , which are responsible for generating lactic acid and maintaining the appropriate acidity of the vaginal pH, specifically between 4.5 and 5.
This is an area that is very sensitive to any external or even internal factor, since any alteration in these bacteria can lead to an infection or other pathology. Below we explain what can alter it and how to keep it in good condition.
What can alter the vaginal flora
The factors that can cause the vaginal flora to be altered can be several, both internal and external, below we explain some of them:
- Age: as age advances, there is a possibility that the vaginal flora deteriorates, as well as during menopause it is a great risk factor.
- Menstrual cycle: during menstruation, the concentration of bacteria in the vaginal flora decreases, which makes infections much more frequent.
- Sexual activity: it is possible that the presence of semen while having intercourse alters the pH of the flora and leads to infections, since a man’s pH is less acidic.
- Contraceptives: there is not much scientific literature on the matter, but the use of contraceptives causes hormonal changes, therefore, it affects the vaginal microbiota and it is possible that some type of infection may occur.
- Hygienic habits: lack of hygiene or even using certain products can be aggressive for the flora. It is ideal to use specific products for the intimate area.
- Antibiotics: antibiotics have a function and that is to kill bacteria, even the good ones, which is why they harm the vaginal flora
- Diet and hydration: a diet that is too rich in sugar or carbohydrates can cause infections to develop, as it encourages the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the intestinal and urinary tract. It is also ideal to stay well hydrated to prevent infections.
- Very tight clothing: avoid wearing clothing that is too tight and does not breathe well, as well as damp clothing in intimate areas. Also try to make underwear made of cotton, as they do not cause irritation and breathe well.
Symptoms of altered vaginal flora
As a general rule, the changes that a woman may notice when her vaginal flora is altered are discharge and discomfort in the intimate area, both of which may reflect that there is some type of infection. The most common symptoms of altered vaginal flora are the following:
- Changes in vaginal discharge: it is normal to notice changes in the color, smell and texture of the discharge
- Inflammation: Increased pathogens can inflame the vaginal mucosa and vulva. It is usually accompanied by itching, pain and redness.
- Discomfort when urinating: it is a very characteristic symptom of infections such as cystitis or bacterial vaginosis .
- Itching: intense itching in the vulva and vagina, usually an indication of the growth of harmful microorganisms.
Pathologies caused by altered vaginal flora
Vulvovaginitis or vaginitis
It consists of an inflammation or infection in the vagina. The vulva, the outer part of a woman’s genitals, may also be affected. Vaginitis can cause itching, pain, odor, and discharge. This infection is more common in women of reproductive age.
It happens when an imbalance occurs in the natural levels of bacteria. Having a good level and balance of bacteria keeps the vagina healthy. However, when there is an overgrowth of bacteria, it can lead to bacterial vaginosis . It can occur at any age, but it is more common in reproductive age, since hormonal changes help the increase of certain bacteria.
How to keep the vaginal flora in good condition
- Clean and dry intimate area: use specific soaps for this delicate area and avoid perfumed products. Do not apply fragrances or feminine hygiene powders to the area.
- Vaginal douching: Although some women feel cleaner if they douche after menstruation or after sexual intercourse, this only worsens vaginal discharge, since douching eliminates the healthy bacteria that appear in the vagina and are there to protect her.
- Hygiene during sexual relations: be careful in cleaning the intimate area before and after having sexual relations. It is very convenient to urinate immediately after having sex.
- Use pads, not tampons: during menstruation it is preferable to use pads instead of tampons, since there is no good perspiration. Use tampons in situations where you need them most, but try to avoid them.
- Clothes that are too tight: Pants that are too tight can cause irritation. Try wearing cotton underwear and socks with cotton in the crotch area as well. Avoid nylon or silk underwear, as they are materials that increase sweating.
- Diet: if your diet is based on too many carbohydrates, try to reduce it, as it favors the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the intestinal and urinary tract. It will be good to drink yogurt twice a day, since it provides us with probiotics that are necessary to maintain the balance of the intestinal and vaginal flora.
- Hydrate yourself: drink at least two liters of water daily, although you can also opt for natural juices, infusions or broths.
- Avoid drinking alcohol if you are taking antibiotics: moderate your daily alcohol intake. Do not drink more than one glass of wine or beer a day.
- Visit your gynecologist: Visit your gynecologist periodically, at least once a year. Do not hesitate to go to the specialist if you have any uncomfortable sensations, such as itching or odor.
- Take probiotics : after taking antibiotics, the vaginal flora is very exposed to possible infections, since the antibiotics have eaten all the bacteria, both good and bad. Therefore, consult your doctor or pharmacist and have them advise you on what type of probiotics will be the best for greater recovery in your vaginal flora.
What to take for the vaginal flora?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed, provide health benefits, maintaining or improving the “good” bacteria in the body. They are naturally present in some fermented foods.
On the other hand, there are also vaginal probiotics , which help restore the natural balance of the vaginal flora in cases of infections such as vaginitis or bacterial vaginosis . Both pathologies are common, in fact, 3 out of 4 women experience them at some point in their lives. These types of probiotics are not only necessary when we already have an infection, but also as a prevention.
At Vitae we care about your health and that is why we try to offer the best of us, providing valuable solutions for your daily life. Many times, to achieve complete well-being, supplementation is necessary, such as vaginal probiotics , to avoid those annoying infections in the intimate area.
Vulbiotic is a food supplement, vaginal probiotic , based on Lactobacillus rhamnosus , Lactobacillus crispatus and Fructooligosaccharides , which contribute to restoring the vaginal microbiome , favoring the balance of the vaginal microbiota and its role as a natural barrier against genitourinary infections . The synergy of its components contributes to:
- Bacterial vulvovaginosis
- Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis
- Recurrent cystitis
- Vaginal viral infections (HPV)
- Adjuvant to antibiotic/ antifungal treatments
- Dysbiosis vaginal microbiome