The Role of Probiotics in Combating Chronic BV and Yeast Infections

I’ll get right into it:

Studies show that taking a probiotic formulated for vaginal flora containing L. Crispatus twice per day for 60 days and then once daily from then on is having a success rate of reducing recurrent bv infections by 60% and yeast infections by 93%!

Whether from antibiotics, diet, feminine products we use, birth control, low estrogen, boric acid overuse, or other medical conditions our vaginas are depleted of the much needed good bacteria and mature environment to prevent and combat the conditions that are causing the infections. Here I will share what I have learned from multiple studies of how probiotics work to help keep he vagina in balance and healthy.

How BV and Yeast infections start (most of the time):

Many chronic/recurring BV and/or yeast infections can be traced back partly to an imbalance in pH levels but ultimately due to the vaginal defense mechanism in totality being disrupted. BV can flourish in a pH above the preferred level of 3.5-4.5 . Yeast, on the other hand, is an opportunistic organism and can happen in a wide range of pH’s, it doesn’t really care-if the defense system is down the yeast will multiply and take over. Once one of these infections happen it can be difficult to break the cycle and get back to a place of health and stability.

After battling recurring BV or yeast infections you are probably desperate for help and one of the biggest things you can do to stop the cycle is find out the PRIMARY cause for your infections. Yeast and BV (which are a mostly a secondary health problem) both happen because there was first a loss of vaginal defenses at some point possibly due to any one of these factors such as sex and/or a new sexual partner, douching, anything with fragrance, birth control, low estrogen, ovulatory cervical mucus, or even your period blood, but sometimes changing any of these sources is not enough (or even an option) so we need to also then figure out how to build the vaginal defense system back up.

When I started digging into medical journals and case studies regarding recurrent BV and yeast infections, I came across a few studies about pH levels and beneficial bacteria normally found in the vagina, below is the data I found:

There are many causes of BV infections alone, some of which are avoidable, some seeming inconvenient to incorporate such as not wearing my beloved invisible thongs and some completely unavoidable Douches, soaps, boric acid overuse, sex and/or new sexual partners, ejaculate fluids, low estrogen levels, period blood…anything that elevates the vaginal pH can be a risk factor. So what do we typically do when we get an infections? We go to the Dr. who usually prescribes an antibiotic, which is fine and typically needed but if we aren’t also providing an environment that promotes the correct pH level for our vaginas we just end up in the vicious cycle and we’re back on antibiotics again and again.

Sound familiar?

The research data shows that the bacteria are also developing a resistance to the antibiotics making the infections more apt to return and taking the antibiotics over and over and not allowing the beneficial bacteria to replenish itself, is letting the bad bacterial recolonize more easily. Made sense to me– antibiotics kill off all the bacteria, good and bad and if you don’t replace the good then the pathogenic organisms come and take up that space. Kind of like a lawn; Weeds tend to grow like crazy in patches of dirt where healthy grass used to be before we did something that killed off that grass.

Look for a probiotic that contains the following:

L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. reuteri, L. crispatus, L. lactis, L. gasseri, L. paracasei, L. rhamnosus, L. brevis, and Bifidobacterium longum.

As mentioned before-taking a probiotic with the strains listed above (most importantly the L. Crispatus) at 10 billion CFU twice a day for 60 days and then once a day after shows a reduction in BV infections by 60% and yeast infections by 93%! I have another article on Boric acid that you may want to read as well that coincides with probiotic use and stopping the cycle of infections.

If you combine the probiotic use with the other suggestions from the medical community for prevention such as be extra careful not to spread germs from any anal play to the vagina, not wearing thongs and only wear those all cotton full butt panties, not using soaps, douches, anything scented, no wipes on the area, and only use warm water you should start to see a decrease in the number of infections.

Side Note: Estrogen also helps to acidify the vagina and promote beneficial bacteria growth so if you are on birth control and are having recurrent yeast infections I would strongly suggest you you talk to your gyno about the role your birth control may be playing in that issue as the estrogen in hormonal birth controls is different than the type our bodies naturally create. The synthetic estrogen in hormonal birth control does not fit quite right in our estrogen receptors so it isn’t able to perform the protective duties we need in order to remain healthy with strong defenses.

Make sure you have confirmation of a yeast infection before you treat with an OTC cream as you can cause crazy irritation or dermatitis to your genitals. Vestibulitis can feel very much like a yeast infection (and so can vulvovaginal allergies-check out this other article I wrote on that) and treating with creams can only make things worse so work with your gyno to confirm all infections whether BV or yeast and treat accordingly.

Tid Bits:

Boric acid, itself, does not cure a BV infection and many women have been misinformed of this fact. Boric acid as I mentioned creates a pH level of about 5.0 and destroys the biofilms of bacteria-good and bad and destroys the cell walls of yeast making these pathogenic organisms susceptible to medications and our body’s natural defenses. If your vulvovaginal health is typically really strong and your immune system is really good you may be able to successfully treat a BV infection with boric acid alone but don’t feel bad if you can’t-you are actually the norm in this situation. If you want to look into using boric acid or have already chosen to start a boric acid treatment make sure you read my article on it first so you know the medical community’s typical dosing, what boric acid can and cannot do, when to take it, and the mechanics of how it works!

I also want to reinforce that anyone with a vagina, sexually active or not, can get a BV and yeast infection so these are never something to feel ashamed of for having. I know they can feel uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing but don’t let anyone cause you to feel abnormal or dirty, the vagina is a delicate ecosystem and can be difficult to maintain.

So, get tested, get the right medication for what ails you, and get to the bottom of what has your vaginal health defenses so low in the first place!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Studies and research data mentioned:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770522/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2662373/

16 comments

  • Thank you, very nice and understandable information. Gives me hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Valerie J Bentson

    Hello, is there a specific vaginal probiotic you would recommend?? Thank you!

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    • Nutricology Restore-biotic women’s 60 delayed release. Many reputable brands that have the full gamut of strains the vagina needs are backordered until end of August however brands such as Jarrow and Azo have an L. Crispatus probiotic it just doesn’t have all the strains that are beneficial but it could be helpful until the Restore-biotic is back for sale

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      • I noticed that the restore probiotic you mentioned does not have the L.crispatus strain you mentioned? I just found the ingredients listed on Amazon.

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      • I dont know why its not showing on the ingredient list where you are seeing it on Amazon but I just checked my bottle and its in there and then I checked the nutricology website and it is listed there as well. Hope that helps, lmk if you have more questions 🙂

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  • Pingback: Facts About Vaginal Boric Acid Treatments | Healthy Hooha

  • I ordered Nutricology Restore-biotic women’s 60 delayed release from their website (not Amazon) and was able to get the one with L.Crisp…I’ve been taking it for a week now and I’m impressed! The probiotics are strong and I definitely feel my digestive track getting back on track. Along with some dietary changes, I’m also feeling better after I eat. I appreciate the recommendation and research you provided.

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  • Hi! Thank you for all this info on boric acid and probiotics.. I found probioticsuppositories should I use boric acid before or after the probiotic suppositories? Or at the same time? Any suggestions are appreciated.

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    • That question is always hard for me to field because of the boric acid obviously affecting the probiotic suppository. Its much easier to do them both simultaneously when the probiotic is in pill form lol. Youre going to have to do the suppositories opposite. Like boric acid in the morning and probiotics mid day and then boric acid 12 hrs after the 1st round. Its gonna be a lot of goop and possibly some increased irritation but some people insist on probiotic suppositories so theres not much you can do but this regimen. If you dont care which form its in theres a capsule that is great from nutricology.com. The essential-biotic womens formula and then you can take it whenever and while it will still ultimately be affected by the boric acid it wont be as significantly or as messy

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  • Hey there! I really appreciate this article, it can be so frustrating dealing with these chronic issues. Do you recommend taking the nutricology probiotic vaginally or orally, or both? I am very susceptible to YIs and have become sensitive overall to foods and seasonal allergens, so I’m wondering if I could use a more systemic probiotic regime.

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    • I would take it orally every day. You could try and mix a half of a capsule with some coconut oil maybe or a lube you know is safe for you but as you probably saw in the article the tests showed there to be L. Crispatus about 12 days after insertion and while that can be a great way to jump start vaginal innoculation, if the environment isn’t optimum then the inserted probiotics won’t last long or make more.

      I had noticed a great reduction in my skin sensitivities and atopic dermatitis after a couple of months of using this probiotic and I was able to wear lipstick! Such a weird thing but my entire life that I can remember I had to constantly have vasaline on my lips and could not wear lipstick without my lips peeling, but after a couple of months I noticed my lips improving and attempted to wear lipstick and I’m able to use certain brands depending on ingredients but this prompted me to look into the correlation. It turns out that L. Crispatus and L. Gasseri supress allergic response!

      Idk if I was lacking these strains in general all of my life or just need more due to my proclivity to skin issues butbI tried a reduction down to every other day and a trial of stopping them completely and my skin issues came back so knowing that I also have hormone issues which are probably causing a dysfunction in my vaginal microbiome I just take them everyday.

      I mention all of this because of the overall benefits of taking a probiotic by someone who knows they have allergies or other chronic conditions.

      I’m curious as to why you’re having so much susceptibility to YI and feel free to discuss this in a private email if you’d like but I suspect a part of it lies in the dysfunctional immune response you’re having in your whole body.

      Have you read my Boric acid and allergy articles to round out the knowledge on this? (At least the knowledge that I’ve published, there is a ton of info on Pubmed about all of this that I haven’t even begun writing about)

      Feel free to email me if you want to continue this conversation but given your other allergies and sensitivities I totally recommend a systemic regimen 🙂

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  • This is great info!! Thanks for sharing!

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  • thanks so much for this info! would you recommend the nutricology or the essential biotics, and do you prefer the delayed release or the antibiotics? also would you take every day or would you stop at a certain point if symptoms disappear? my doctor said there are doubts about long-term probiotic use and would love to hear your thoughts about it. additionally, does it make sense to start taking these before you take the antibiotics? and do you recommend taking 1x or 2x a day if you have active bv? sorry so many questions

    Liked by 1 person

    • I take the nutricology women’s and it has done so much good for me. I know there is so much uncertainty surrounding probiotics but in reality some people need them and so it works and some people don’t need them and so they don’t see statistical improvement but I know for a fact they can be needed long term for at least some people as I am one of those people and I have provable symptom occurance if I stop using my probiotic. Soap box rant over lol.

      You ask me if I prefer the delayed release or the antibiotics but thats 2 different things so I can’t comment on that until you clarify.

      I would take a delayed release once a day or a 10 billion cfu twice a day for 90 days and then stop and see how you do. That might be all you need and there’s no point in spending more money if you don’t need to.

      I dont see a point in starting them before an antibiotic regimen but taking them during but at opposite times can be helpful but only to a certain point and I personally recommend based on the study data that the probiotics are taken 2x a day while using antibiotics.

      Lmk if you have further questions 🙂

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