I always thought that probiotics were just good for your gut but I was so wrong. As probiotics have become increasingly popular, I learned that there are so many benefits from taking probiotics. Probiotics help maintain a healthy immune system and decrease inflammation in your body, including the vagina.
Probiotics contain live micro-organisms called Lactobacillus that can specifically benefit women. Like your gut, the vagina contains normal bacteria that fights against the overgrowth of harmful organisms in the urogenital system that help combat urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
Bacterial vaginosis or BV is the most common vaginal infection women experience. It is caused by the overgrowth of Gardnerella vaginalis or Prevotella. Typical symptoms include thin grayish discharge with a fishy odor. Yeast infections typically present with itching, vaginal irritation and sometimes a thick white discharge caused by an imbalance of fungus known as Candida.
Taking probiotics that contain Lactobacillus restore and maintain a normal urogenital flora. Studies show that taking probiotics daily resulted in the cure of BV, reduced the recurrence of BV and/or caused an increase in vaginal lactobacilli and restored normal vaginal flora. This is great for patients that have recurrent or resistant vaginal infections due to bacterial vaginosis and yeast.
Incorporating probiotics into your routine is a great way for continued well being from head to toe.
Other benefits of probiotics include improved digestion and decreased gas, bloating and constipation. They help with skin issues such as acne, rosacea and eczema, reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections and have been shown to improve heart health, cholesterol and diabetes. Make sure to take the probiotics with or 30 minutes before a meal and remember that it may take a couple of weeks before you see the benefits.
We've made it to week 4 of our Love Wellness Gratitude Challenge! Have you been practicing gratitude throughout the month? Have you noticed a difference in your mood, thoughts and overall well-being?
For the final challenge of the month, tell us what you appreciate the most about The Love Club for 200 points!
Hi members! The Love Club was created with all of you in mind - a safe place for women to come together and discuss what's really important: your health, wellness, body, and minds! The conversations we have are empowering women in our lives and let's be honest.. it's straight up COOL to be able to talk about our bodies, health, and science with each other!
So why not get points for making this community the absolute BEST community it can be?!
HOW IT WORKS
1️⃣Create an account to join The Love Club
2️⃣Earn points for engaging and being active on TLC!
3️⃣Redeem for your Love Wellness products!
💰️100 points = $5 off
💰️200 points = $10 off
💰️500 points = $25 off
🤑OMG That's a FREE bottle of your FAV product!
HOW TO EARN POINTS
💗300 points for signing up for TLC
💗10 points for starting your own discussion
💗5 points for commenting back to other ladies and their discussions (share your personal stories and advice!)
💗5 points for commenting back on ANY discussion! That's right..share with our Medical Advisors and contributors, geek out with us on Exciting Science, learn some new facts at Did You Know, see what's cookin' in the Kitchen. Stay up to date on all recent discussions here! Comments must be at least one sentence.
USE YOUR POINTS
Redeeming your points is super easy! Just log in to your Love Wellness account & apply your balance during checkout, that's it!
Stay tuned for SO MUCH MORE exciting updates we have in store for you and TLC! 😘
The fine print!
*Members will receive points for their first comment on any discussion (if you leave more than 1 comment on a discussion, you will not be rewarded for those but we encourage you to still share the LOVE!)
**Members will receive points for only 1 new discussion started per day (if you start more than 1 discussion in a day, you will only receive points for your first) but don't let this stop you!! We love to see our community engaging with each other!
***Members will receive points from the week by EOD every Friday. If points were not added to your account, they will be included in the following week's round up.
What causes yeast infections?
Each organ system in the body that is exposed to the outside world (i.e. skin, mouth, gut, vagina) has a colony of organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi) ideally co-existing harmoniously. This family of organisms is called the “flora.” When the flora becomes imbalanced for any reason, an infection can likely follow. One of the most commonly seen vaginal tract infections is our “friend,” the yeast infection. Yeast infections are medically termed vulvovaginal candidiasis because the culprit is a yeast (a type of fungus) named Candida. Candida normally lives peacefully inside the body, in the vagina, and on the skin in low amounts without causing any issues. Certain factors, however, can cause the fungus to multiply, at which point many people become symptomatic and experience infections.
Do I have a yeast infection?
Signs of a vaginal yeast infection include itching, burning, soreness, and discomfort. The vulva (external visible part of the female genitals) will usually appear red, swollen, irritated, and tender to touch. Other symptoms can be pain during sex and burning during urination. These signs and symptoms are most often experienced along with a change in vaginal discharge that appears white and thick, like cottage cheese. One thing that is NOT characteristic of a yeast infection is a change in discharge odor. Change in odor is often a sign of a different type of infection. Overall, it is usually easy to diagnose yourself with the occasional yeast infection based on your symptoms.
So, how do I PREVENT yeast infections?
Keep the perineum clean
Perineum is the medical term for the area between the vagina and anus. Because Candida is often found living in the gastrointestinal tract, it only has a short distance to travel from the anus to reach the vagina. If you’re not careful to keep the area clean when wiping, wearing thongs, and after exercising, then it’s easy for Candida to migrate across this area and cause a yeast infection. Keep the area clean with gentle, pH balanced wipes to prevent extra yeast from ever reaching the vagina.
Avoid harsh soaps
While it’s beneficial to keep everything clean, using harsh soaps will do more harm than good. Remember, the vagina itself is a beautifully designed, self-cleansing system that doesn’t need help from soap. In clinics, we often have patients who feel they need to clean extra because of their normal discharge. This leads to vigorous cleaning with harsh soaps. This disrupts the pH balance, kills good vaginal bacteria, and leads to overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast. This leads to yeast infections which then leads to more cleaning and turns into a painful and vicious cycle. To prevent this, use a gentle, unscented, pH balancing cleanser ONLY on the vulva (external genitals) and never inside the vagina.
Supplement with probiotics
Probiotics are living organisms, sometimes called “good bacteria” that have been encapsulated and can be used as supplements to provide health benefits. In short, probiotics can increase the number of good bacteria in your body, so they can fight off yeast and other harmful pathogens. This has extra importance during and after any course of antibiotics because probiotics assist in rebuilding the good bacteria. Additionally, there are numerous other benefits to probiotics including a healthier digestive tract and increased immunity to infections.
Be careful choosing lubricants
Harsh lubricants that are scented and have unknown ingredients can lead to an imbalance in vaginal pH. Choose an FDA approved lubricant that is water-based, scent free, and gentle enough for the vaginal area. It is important that your lubricant is pH balanced to match the vaginal environment and free of harsh chemicals, so you don’t increase your risk of yeast infections.
Go commando at nighttime
One of the simplest ways to prevent yeast infections is to sleep without underwear. Tight underwear made of synthetic material creates a moist environment which is perfect for bacteria and yeast to grow and multiply. Choose a loose cotton underwear or go commando at nighttime, so your vagina has a chance to breath and regulate bacteria.
Try to decrease stress levels
Increased levels of stress for prolonged periods of time can increase cortisol levels in your blood. If maintained for too long, this can weaken your immune system which puts you at risk for yeast infections and other types of illnesses. Aiming to maintain a balanced lifestyle with exercise, nutrition, and possibly mood supplements can assist in lowering stress levels. This in turn can help your body fight away yeast infections.
Maintain blood-sugar balance
Candida is a yeast and yeast feed off sugar. This is one reason that many people with uncontrolled diabetes have recurrent yeast infections. So, keeping a low-sugar diet can play a beneficial roll in decreasing the number of yeast infections you experience.
The spookiest time of year has arrived! Let the horror movie marathons and pumpkin carving festivities begin, because Halloween is just around the corner.
Whether you’re a Hocus Pocus fan or more of a Saw III fan, we all have metaphorical monsters under the bed that keep us up at night.
For some of you reading this article, you might say your monsters under the bed are more tangible fears, like a fear of spiders or a fear of elevators. For others, you might say your biggest fear goes a little deeper, like the fear of being alone, fear of failure, or fear of disappointment. Regardless of what you’re afraid of, we all experience fear, it's innate in our DNA.
Fear helps us respond quickly to avoid danger - however, sometimes we experience fear even when there is no actual threat of danger or harm. For example, you might experience the exact same heart-pounding, stomach churning feeling of fear when you’re about to give a presentation at work that you might experience when the car in front of you slams on their breaks unexpectedly.
While it’s natural to avoid things that make us scared or uncomfortable, when that fear isn’t based on any real facts or evidence of danger or harm, avoidance reinforces the message that we should be afraid and often leads to even more fear. Sometimes when we’re afraid, the biggest monster we have to face is the monster of self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is a form of avoidance. We self-sabotage when we’re afraid to fail and we self-sabotage to avoid feelings of disappointment or shame.
If you feel like a hamster stuck on a wheel, then you might be engaging in self-sabotage or unhelpful avoidance behaviors. Fear and avoidance can keep you stuck and ultimately prevent you from taking the necessary steps needed to grow and make progress. It’s important to remember that feelings of discomfort can be a positive experience and often go hand in hand with change. After all, we’re creatures of habit and we crave comfort and predictability for a sense of safety in a world that can sometimes feel like a real life Halloween horror film.
If you want to break free from the cycle of self-sabotage, you have to break-up with the idea of living a life of perfection and always being in control. Recognize that reward, growth, and personal development involve risk. Growth rarely exists without discomfort because you are doing something new and different where the outcome is often unknown. Typically, the anticipation of a feared consequence (e.g. failing a test, messing up a presentation, saying the “wrong” thing, etc.) is often worse than the experience itself.
In order to face your fears, you have to push yourself into the zone of discomfort and do it over and over again so that you increase your tolerance for the feeling of discomfort and learn that you are capable and can handle the resulting outcome.
It’s also important to remember that we’re all afraid of something. There is seldom reward without risk. When you’re afraid of the unknown, remind yourself that you are capable and imagine yourself effectively managing your worst case scenario if it happens. You might find in the end that the scary, menacing creature under your bed is nothing more than a few dust bunnies.
So this Halloween, when there’s something strange in the neighborhood, be your own self-sabotage ghost buster!
https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au – The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety Worksheet