If you’re a woman, chances are high (like, 75 percent high) that you’ve experienced the itchy feeling and clumpy discharge of a vaginal yeast infection at least once in your life. And almost half of women will have two or more episodes. Though not usually serious, yeast infections caused by Candida overgrowth can be icky and uncomfortable. Plus, Candida overgrowth can cause “brain fog, trouble concentrating, gas or bloating and difficulty losing weight,” notes Ciara Foy, nutritionist and women’s transformation coach.
But what exactly is a yeast infection?
Kept under control by bacteria such as Lactobacilli, yeast is a fungus that occurs naturally in the vagina. When protective Lactobacilli are out of whack (sometimes caused by antibiotic use, pregnancy or illness), the yeast may multiply and cause symptoms.
How probiotics help
“For vaginal health, we need healthy vaginal flora,” says Renew Life spokesperson Dr. Sara Celik, a naturopathic doctor. A probiotic with Lactobacilli strains may rebalance the vaginal flora and fight off yeast and other pathogenic organisms that may cause infection.
Image Credit: RenewLife
Choosing a probiotic for vaginal health
If you want a probiotic with high levels of Lactobacilli, look for a female-focused probiotic like Renew Life Ultimate Flora VS for Women that features:
- Variety: “Multiple strains typically mean multiple benefits,” says Dr. Sara. Look for a mix of strains of Lactobacilli (for vaginal and gut health) and Bifidobacterium (for gut health).
- Potency: Aim for around 50 billion live active bacteria per capsule. “I’ve used lower potencies and higher potencies over the last 13 years in practice, and higher potencies seem to work better for my patients,” notes Dr. Sara. And make sure that your probiotic guarantees potency until the time of expiry, not just the time of manufacture.
- Safe delivery: Bacteria is easily destroyed by the acidic environment of the stomach long before it makes its way to the intestines and beyond. Choose capsules that are acid-resistant.
Why monitoring your diet matters, too
Taking a probiotic is one positive step towards better vaginal health, but you’ll also have to take a look at your diet. Cut down on carbohydrates and sugars—even from so-called healthy foods such as whole grains and tropical fruits including papaya and pineapple. “We can’t just label foods as healthy or unhealthy,” says Foy. “It really comes down to the result that you’re trying to achieve.” A low-carb, low-sugar diet is the way to go for women with chronic yeast infections.
And remember: You have the power to transform your body. “I always say, you are your best doctor,” says Dr. Sara. “You know your body better than anybody else. Don’t underestimate the symptoms that you’re dealing with.” Instead, take positive natural steps to improve your vaginal health and live a more empowered life.
For more information about Renew Life Ultimate Flora VS for Women, which contains 50 billion active cultures (and nine probiotic strains!), visit renewlife.ca.