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Health Vagina Sex Periods Std Feminism
Health Vagina Sex Periods Std Feminism
Molly Longest / Her Campus

Keep Her Healthy! Learning About Your Vaginal Microbiome

There are daily fluctuations in vaginal microbiota due to different cycles and periods the human vagina will endure. These fluctuations are due to menstruation, taking contraceptives, altering diet, and being sexually active. These miniscule microorganisms are a critical part of having a healthy vaginal tract and reproductive system. In contrast with other animal vaginas, what makes the human vagina special is the dominance in the bacterium Lactobacillus. This creates an acidic environment to protect females from sexually transmitted diseases and other infections. The daily fluctuations alter the diversity of the microbiota, and can also affect the abundance of Lactobacillus. With the normal daily fluctuations, it may be a good idea to consider taking a probiotic in support of a healthy reproductive system. Probiotics contain microorganisms that help benefit your body. 

The vaginal microbiome has external and internal factors that affect the diversity and abundance in your vaginal tract. During the menses, the diversity of the microbiota increases, but the abundance of the Lactobacillus decreases. With the use of hormonal contraceptives, both the diversity and abundance of Lactobacillus bacteria will decrease. As for diet, studies show that both vegetarians and those who exercise heavily have a lower amount of Lactobacillus bacteria (Song 2020). Low amounts of Lactobacillus bacteria isn’t inherently a bad thing, those with low abundances can still be relatively healthy. The balance is slim, however, having low diversity and low Lactobacillus can leave you more susceptible to disease. 

Probiotics are supplements made of microorganisms that can benefit different parts of your body. You can get probiotics containing different types of bacteria that can aid digestion, immune, excretory, and reproductive health. When it comes to picking out a probiotic to aid in vaginal health, keep in mind what’s known. High diversity and high abundance in Lactobacillus bacterias equate to a healthy vaginal tract. Therefore, probiotics that offer plenty of Lactobacillus bacteria should do justice. For example, the “Ultimate Flora Women’s Vaginal Probiotic 50 Billion,” is a probiotic in which the ingredients match the logic. The ingredients consist of a Bifido probiotic blend that has a variety of bifidobacterium, and a Lacto probiotic blend consisting of multiple Lactobacillus bacteria. The two bacteria strains can aid in pH balance and yeast balance. In addition, cranberry juice is often recommended to prevent and resolve UTI’s. The A-type proanthocyanidins help prevent bad bacteria from sticking to the inner vaginal tracts.  

The importance of your vaginal biome is more crucial that you may originally think. This diverse biome is the first line of defense against vaginal infections through exclusion and direct killing (Lewis 2019). If disrupted, lowered, etc, this directly links to pelvic inflammatory disease, miscarriages and premature newborns. Aside from probiotics, it’s essential to implement healthy sexual habits and hygiene. Urinating after sexual intercourse, using condoms for protection, and overall cleanliness of both parties can prevent harmful bacteria from disrupting your vaginal health. Avoiding STDs through condoms and regular STD checks will lessen the likelihood of disease greatly. 

Daily fluctuations in the vaginal microbiome are normal and expected. Through menses, contraceptives, and diet. Other fluctuations due to sexual activity can cause a harmful affect on the microbiome, so keeping up with healthy sexual practices are necessary in lowering risk of disease. Protecting your vaginal microbiome also protects your reproductive future, lowering your chance of having miscarriages and pre-mature babies. Adding a probiotic into a daily routine with a variety of Lactobacillus bacteria will ensure a healthy balance of bacteria. Implement daily vitamins and healthy antioxidants with cranberry juice to avoid UTIs. 

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Emilee Roy

U Maine '24

Hi! My name is Emilee and I am a Sophomore Animal and Veterinary Sciences major. I love animals, books, a good Netflix binge, and philosophy podcasts.
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