To avoid infections and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria, you may benefit from the best probiotics for vaginal health. To learn more, Bustle touched base with
Dr. Savita Ginde — the Medical Director for Stride Community Health Centers.
While research is limited, Dr. Ginde says the Lactobacilli species (mainly
acidophilus, rhamnosus, and reuteri) is the most widely identified strain of “good” bacteria to look for when you’re searching for a probiotic to support vaginal pH and to help maintain the normal balance of bacteria within the vagina. “You can get this in yogurt, pickled vegetables like kimchi, or miso as well,” she says. That's why, in addition to probiotic capsules, I've also included some probiotic-rich food options in this roundup.
Dr. Ginde says your good bacteria is what supports a healthy level of acid pH, and the acid pH is what fights infection. But maintaining good bacteria requires a consistent probiotic intake. “In those women who have problems [...] the regular use of a probiotic containing
Lactobacilli acidophilus could be the answer,” Dr. Ginde says.
Taking probiotics regularly may help with recurring bacterial vaginosis (BV) as well. According to a Harvard Health article, consuming
lactobacilli bacteria might prevent the overgrowth of harmful organisms that cause BV. Further, a 2003 study found that daily consumption of an oral probiotic containing L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. fermentum RC-14 can reduce bad bacteria and yeast in the vagina.
Dr. Ginde advises talking with your health care provider before starting anything, though. “People with immune system problems or severe illnesses should be particularly careful,” she says.
Check out the best probiotics for vaginal health below. They meet most of Dr. Ginde’s criteria, with each supplement containing a combination of the strains she recommends:
acidophilus and/or rhamnosus and reuteri. Plus, they’re all highly rated on Amazon. 1 The Best Probiotic Supplement Overall
According to the brand, this raw
probiotic blend promotes healthy yeast balance, urinary tract health, and overall vaginal health. The shelf-stable probiotic contains a whopping 50 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) and 38 probiotic strains — including Dr. Ginde's main three: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus reuteri — that are sourced Bulgarian yogurt and Eastern European wild kefir. It’s also non-GMO, vegetarian, and free of gluten and soy. Plus, this supplement has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon and over 5,000 reviews. Instructions say to take one capsule daily. A helpful review: “For several years I suffered from frequent yeast infections which were sometimes accompanied by bacteria vagninosis. Nothing was helping. My OB/GYN finally suggested i start taking a probiotic. She suggested I try something with at least 50 Billion CFU. [...]To be quite honest, I always thought probiotics were a bs and had my doctor not mentioned it, I would have never tried. This product has been life changing! I haven't had a yeast infection or BV since I starting taking it two years ago. Amazing!!!” 2 A Doctor-Developed Probiotic Supplement With A Cult Following
Clinically tested, developed by doctors, and gynecologist-recommended, this brand is designed to balance yeast and bacteria for optimal vaginal health. This
popular pick contains lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. It also boasts a 4.6-star rating on Amazon and more than 16,000 reviews so it's a serious fan-favorite. While it's a less potent blend than the number one pick featured above (it contains 5 billion CFUs per serving compared to Garden of Life's 50 billion CFUs), this probiotic has shoppers raving over its ability to help them combat BV. Similar to the pick above, it's recommended that you take one capsule daily. A helpful review: “I’ve had chronic yeast infections ALL my life.My OBGYN would prescribed antibiotics every month and so life goes (years and years). It was just something I had to endure, the pain the discomfort. I had tried everything I could to prevent it but it always came back. Until I discovered this product. [...] I’ve had zero yeast infections for a few years now and it’s truly life changing. I wish I knew about this product earlier in life. [...]” 3 The Most Potent: A Popular Probiotic With 100 Billion CFU
Another fan-favorite probiotic on Amazon, this
potent formula contains 100 billion CFU (the most out of any on this list). The raw, shelf-stable probiotic is chock-full of strains that can help with vaginal health, including Dr. Ginde's top three: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus reuteri — plus it has L. fermentum. The vegan, non-GMO formula even contains prebiotics like Jerusalem artichoke heart and blue agave heart for gut health and cranberry, hibiscus, and dandelion root for your urinary tract. The recommended dosage is two capsules per day, but you do get 60 capsules per bottle. A helpful review: “They are my favorite probiotics. I have already ordered them 2 times. I love to take woman probiotics since it is good for the health and it protects me for vaginal yeast infections or other... They are easy to swallow and work well. I like that it is not needed in fridge so I can take them anywhere with me” 4 An Affordable Probiotic For Those Wanting To Test Out The Waters
For under $20, you can get 25 capsules of this gluten-free
probiotic designed with women’s health needs in mind. It features two of the strains that Dr. Ginde recommends: Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. With a formula of 10 billion CFU, it’s not the most potent on the list, but according to the brand, it comes in a clinically effective dose for a healthy vaginal biome and a number of Amazon reviewers raved. It’s recommended that you take one capsule daily. A helpful review: “I wasn't expecting to really notice much taking these, and within the first week of taking these I started noticing a difference in my vaginal health. I feel more comfortable than I've felt since I've had kids and I haven't had to need to use lube since using these probiotics. I will continue to buy these after I finish this bottle.” 5 A Premium, All-Natural Kimchi That's Super Fresh
In addition to
boosting gut health, the probiotics in kimchi can help keep your vagina’s pH level in balance while also warding off infections, particularly yeast infections. So if you prefer to get your healthy bacteria through your diet instead of a supplement, this spicy kimchi — made in small batches in Oregon — is a great choice. It's made with Napa cabbage with genuine Gochugaru, and it’s free of MSG, preservatives, and gluten. Seoul Kimchi also offers other blends, like the original flavor for those who prefer less spice. Consider serving with scrambled eggs, layered on grilled cheese, or atop your favorite pizza! A helpful review: “[...]This is nice Kimchi, well balanced, spicy, crunchy, tangy, and just a little but funky like Kinchi should be. I used it for everythibg including omlettes. My only caution is that its really pungent. If you live with someone who doesnt like Kimchi, like my wife, you should invest in a good Kimchi storage container.” 6 This Naturally Probiotic-Rich Miso Paste From Japan
On top of
promoting a healthy gut, eating probiotic-rich miso can help keep your vagina’s pH level in balance while also encouraging the growth of lactobacillus. Sourced from Japan, Hikari Organic Miso Paste is a best-seller on Amazon, with a 4.5-star rating and over 3,900 reviews and counting. It’s USDA-certified organic and uses just a few simple ingredients: water, organic soybeans, organic rice, salt, yeast, and koji culture. It’s non-GMO and gluten-free as well. Try adding it to stir-fries, salad dressings, or soups. A helpful review: “Miso makes things taste better. Oh, and a little goes a long way. Oh, and it’s great for my health! Win win!” Experts: Dr. Savita Ginde, Medical Director for Stride Community Health Centers. https://drsavitaginde.com/about/ Studies Referenced: Reid, G., Charbonneau, D., Erb, J., Kochanowski, B., Beuerman, D., Poehner, R., & Bruce, A. W. (2003, March 20). Oral use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. fermentum RC-14 significantly alters vaginal flora: randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 64 healthy women. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12628548
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This article was originally published on
March 28, 2020