Have you heard of probiotics?

You’ve probably heard a whisper, but you might not be too sure what they’re all about.

Basically, probiotics are something you need in our life, whether male or female, however as a woman, there are some serious benefits to be had.

Probiotics are live bacteria. That is the part which panics many people, but these bacteria are good bacteria and they are required naturally within the body for health and wellness. Without a balance of good and bad bacteria in the stomach, the bad would overrun, and all manner of digestive issues would occur. Probiotics are therefore the various different strains of these good bacteria, which help to support effective and healthy running of the gut, immune system, and also contain many other health benefits too, such as added concentration, energy, and possibly even helping with weight loss, as part of a healthy diet.

Despite the general benefits which probiotics bring, there are some which are specific to women, and we’re going to talk about three in particular. Now, we should mention that there isn’t a huge amount of scientific evidence into probiotics, but the studies which have been undertaken certainly show beneficial results. More studies are needed and are certainly ongoing, and anyone who is considering starting to take probiotic supplements should certainly have a quick chat with their doctor beforehand, just to check for any possible contraindications. Women who are pregnant should certainly wait until after the baby is born before taking probiotics, and discuss whether or not these are safe during breastfeeding too. 

Warnings aside, let’s check out three reasons every woman should know about probiotics. 

3 Reasons Every Woman Should Know About Probiotics

Probiotics May Help Reduce the Chances of Urinary Tract Infections and Yeast Infections

Studies have shown that regularly taking probiotic supplements, or increasing the probation content in your diet to a high enough level, may help to reduce the instances of urinary tract infections in women. This is because the good bacteria doesn’t just live in your gut, it also lives in the female genital tract, and around the bladder. By balancing out the good and bad, you can help to decrease the instances of these troublesome UTIs. This is particularly good news for any woman who experiences these UTIs on a regular basis. 

In addition, studies have also shown that regular probiotic use can help to reduce the instances of yeast infections in the genital tract, such as thrush. Again, this is about counteracting overgrowth of yeasts which cause these infections. Some probiotics aren’t just bacteria they are yeasts too, but good ones, just like the bacteria area. Ensuring this balance means less chance of troublesome thrush occurring. 

Probiotics May Reduce PMS Symptoms 

The regular use of probiotics may also help to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms in women who regularly suffer on a monthly basis. This is down to regulating the levels of yeast within the body. When candida (yeast) overgrows, it can affect the hormones within the female body and when these hormones are out of whack, PMS symptoms can be far worse. 

In addition, probiotics help to reduce bloating in the gut, by aiding general gut health. This can also be a plus point for anyone who regularly experiences bloating at this time of the month, and can help to reduce the discomfort which may occur otherwise.

Probiotics May Help to Improve The Condition of The Skin 

The other benefit which women need to know about is that probiotics may also help to improve the condition of the skin and battle certain skin conditions, such as eczema and acne, to name just two. Does it help with anti-aging? It helps to improve the skin’s condition, so surely that has to go some way towards a ‘yes’! 

Bacteria also sits on the surface of the skin, and when the bad bacteria overruns the good, conditions can occur, as well as dry and unhealthy skin in general. Of course, ensuring a healthy skincare routine is a first port of call, but taking probiotics or increasing the amount of probiotic benefit in your diet could help you to counteract those negative effects. Again, it is about the balance between good bacteria and bad, but studies have also shown that probiotics may help to reduce the severity of acne outbreaks. 

These are three benefits which women will certainly be pleased to hear about, and it all comes down to either finding the right probiotic supplement for your needs or increasing the probiotic content you consume from your diet. Many women find it difficult to get enough probiotic content from their diet alone and there is no actual specified amount currently either. Again, more studies are ongoing into this also. 

For that reason, the supplement option is one which most women tend to go for, and you will find countless different options simply with one online search. You can also go to a healthcare store and ask for advice, but the best course of action is to visit your doctor and ask their advice on the strain of probiotic which is best for the condition or issue you’re trying to combat. There are countless strains and whilst most are general and have broad-spectrum benefits, some are more specialised, e.g. certain strains which are good for skin conditions, certain strains which are good for tackling recurrent yeast infections, etc. The sheer number of these strains can be overwhelming, so getting advice from those in the know is the best first port of call. As a general rule aim for a probiotic above 50 billion CFU’s and more than 6-7 strains. Our recommend probiotic for women is 1MD Complete Probiotics, which you can read bout here

If you do want to try and increase your probiotic amount from your diet, make sure you’re eating things like yogurt (ensure it says ‘live and active cultures on the label), miso, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, other fermented foods, and traditional buttermilk, to name just a few. The list does go on, but many of these foods are difficult to incorporate enough on a daily basis. It comes down to personal preference, but a little research will see you towards the right route for you, and of course, the right outcome for your specific issue. 

(Last Updated On: March 11, 2021)

Annalise O'Conner is a Registered Dietitian and Personalized Nutritionist. She is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching nutrition in the School of Public Health and APAN (Asian Pacific Islander American Network) Email: [email protected]

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