SHOULD I TAKE PROBIOTICS to PREVENT UTIs?
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Although Lactobacillus bacteria are considered to be the "good bacteria", there are many different types (species) of Lactobacillus. The best bacteria or combination of different Lactobacillus bacteria isn’t firmly established, so unfortunately just eating a lot of yogurt with Lactobacilli in it isn't a reliable way to prevent UTIs or yeast infections. Besides, when is the last time you ate something and it ended up in your vagina? What I mean by that odd question is that a probiotic taken by mouth is good for the gut, but the ideal probiotic for for down there should be applied down there. Having said that, many bladder infections are due to bacteria around the back end so probiotics can help prevent infections...and most probiotics are only available in a form meant to be taken by mouth.
The ultimate probiotic mimics your own Lactobacilli. As I said earlier, the best combination of Lactobacillus bacteria isn't known, but in general Lactobacillus acidophilus is good for most women. Some Lactobacillus species make hydrogen peroxide that helps to keep bad bacteria and yeast in check. When the numbers of Lactobacilli are low in number (lower estrogen levels, after antibiotic use) then women can be more prone to UTIs because of increased growth of "bad" bacteria or yeast infections.
My view is that the best "probiotic" is to avoid things that negatively affect the Lactobacilli: taking antibiotics for a cough or other questionable symptoms because you just happen to have some, avoiding abrupt hormone changes (such as stopping your hormone replacement cold turkey because a friend of a friend told you that you should), frequent douching, or anything else that could alter a woman's microbiome (it's a fancy word for your ideal mix of organisms down there).
BOTTOM LINE: There is nothing wrong with taking probiotics, but it's not predictable how much they will directly benefit each woman's lady parts.
If you are prone to infections and you use a lubricant for dryness or you just find that lubricants make sexual activity more enjoyable, you should avoid products that contain glycerin. GLISSANT intimate lubricants do not contain glycerin or other ingredients that predispose to infections.
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Dr. Karyn Eilber MD is a physician in Beverly Hills with over 20 years of experience in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.