The Vaginal Microbiome and Why It's Important

The Vaginal Microbiome and Why It's Important

We don't hear about it as much as the microbiome in our gut but the microbiome in our vaginas plays an important role in our sexual health. 

Our vaginas are home to a complex and important eco-system that is our vaginal microbiome. When it gets thrown out of balance our health can suffer as it exposes us to a higher risk of preterm, miscarriage, STI's, UTI's, pelvic inflammatory disease and thrush. These have all been linked to a disrupted vaginal microbiome. Studies have shown that the key bacteria present in our vaginas is called Lactobicilli. These produce lactic acid and keep the vagina acidic and have anti-microbial properties, essential in protecting us from unwanted infections. 

When this microbiome is out of balance, there is an increased risk of infections such as BV (bacterial vaginosis). About 30% of women will have BV at some point in their life. There is a high probability of recurrence within 6 months and it's crucial that any sexual partners are treated at the same time. If you feel something isn't right or think you may be suffering from BV, check in with your doctor.

There are many things that can disrupt your vaginal microbiome, these include - antibiotics, sex, menopause, not using a condom, douching and having a new sexual partner. 

It's easy to find probiotics that claim to help balance and maintain the vaginal microbiome. It's hard to know if these actually work as the studies done have often been small and run by the manufacturers which means there could be bias.

As with your gut health, eating fibre rich foods is great to maintain a diet that supports your body and can help protect against other problems.


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