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. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
The Best Probiotic Supplement Overall
According to the brand,
this probiotic blend promotes healthy yeast balance, urinary tract health, and overall vaginal health. It 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 harvested directly from Bulgarian yogurt and Eastern European wild kefir. It’s also 100% raw, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and vegetarian, with no binders, fillers, or carriers. Plus, this supplement has a 4.2-star customer rating on Amazon and over 400 reviews. Instructions say to take one capsule daily. A helpful review: “I bought these because after having an IUD that gave me recurrent BV, I needed something to help get my vagina back on track! I would get BV, then get a Yeast Infection from the BV meds, and the Yeast Infection meds would cause a UTI and the vicious cycle would repeat! [...] I love the results! [...]”
2. A Doctor-Developed Probiotic Supplement With Almost 3,000 Reviews
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 ( L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14). It also boasts a 4.4-star customer rating on Amazon and nearly 2,900 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 had bacterial vaginosis which caused a heavy unpleasant odor. Before finding out I had [BV], I thought there wasn’t something seriously wrong with my vajayjay because of the strong odor and discharge. After getting diagnosed, my obgyn recommended probiotics. After doing research, I settled for this product. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to work but after a week, I started noticing a difference and now the annoyingly unpleasant odor is long gone! [...]"
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 is a great choice. It's made upon order from Napa cabbage, and it’s all-natural, gluten-free, MSG-free, non-GMO, and low in sugar. Seoul Kimchi is made in the United States and shipped in a BPA-free bag as well, and it comes with a 4.2-star customer rating on Amazon with more than 200 reviews. If you don’t do spicy foods, try the original flavor instead.
Consider serving with scrambled eggs, layered on grilled cheese, or atop your favorite pizza!
A helpful review: “I ordered this online and it was delivered with reusable freezer bags and arrived nice and fresh. The taste of this product is outstanding. It's not too sour tasting, just the right amount of kick to it. I only wish it came in a bigger bag! I put the leftovers into a large mason jar with a lid and refrigerated. Go ahead and try it, you won't be disappointed.”
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. A product of Japan, Hikari Organic Miso Paste is made with water, organic soybeans, organic rice, salt, yeast, and koji culture. It’s USDA certified organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free as well. It also has a 4.3-star customer rating on Amazon and over 800 reviews. Try adding it to stir fries, salad dressings, or soups. A helpful review: “This is an excellent brand for an organic miso. I've used this brand before and love the flavor. This miso is versatile for soups, dressings, and used in dips. Miso is also a good source for probiotic if you like fermented soybean paste in cooking. It arrived well packaged. Will buy again!” 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