The great potential of vaginal lactobacilli

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The human vagina is home to many microorganisms that coexist in a dynamic balance. In a healthy vagina lactic acid bacteria, such as lactobacilli, are the dominant organisms. Thanks to their antibacterial qualities, they have a major impact on women’s health.

The composition of the vaginal flora is influenced by a number of factors: age, our first menstruation, the time of our menstrual cycle, pregnancy, infections, methods of birth control, sexual activity, use of medication and hygiene.

Our vagina is host to millions of naturally occurring bacteria, most of which are lactic acid bacteria or lactobacilli. When our bacterial flora is in balance, lactobacilli are able to prevent the overgrowth of fungi or other harmful bacteria. They protect us against all sorts of daily vaginal issues that we often aren’t even aware of.

Lactobacilli

Healthy women generally present four vaginal Lactobacillus species, of which Lactobacillus crispatus is the dominant strain, followed by Lactobacillus iners, Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus jensenii.

Lactobacilli, or lactic acid bacteria, have a profound impact on female health. They produce antimicrobial substances such as lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, both protective agents against potentially pathogens.

In order to preserve and maintain a healthy balance in the vaginal flora, lactobacilli produce lactic acid, which inhibits the colonisation and proliferation of undesirable microorganisms.

This antibacterial effect of lactobacilli only works when the vaginal flora is in balance. Under certain circumstances, this balance can become disturbed and our natural lactobacilli are unable to prevent infections by pathogens.

Hormonal changes, pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, a weakened or underdeveloped immune system and the use of antibiotics are all factors that are likely to elicit a bacterial imbalance.

Common vaginal infections

Bacterial vaginosis and aerobic vaginitis

Bacterial vaginosis and aerobic vaginitis are common vaginal conditions, which are often caused by a disrupted bacterial flora and a reduction of lactobacilli or lactic acid bacteria.

The bacterial flora in a healthy vagina is dominated by lactobacilli. Other bacteria such as Gardnerella, PrevotellaStreptococcus and Enterococcus are also present, although in much lower numbers. When this natural balance becomes disturbed, symptoms such as excessive fluid secretion, a typical odour and itching can occur. Unlike aerobic vaginitis, bacterial vaginosis doesn’t show as an infection of the vagina or the labia.

Candidosis

An overgrowth of fungi can cause vaginal infections. You may have heard of the Candida species, a type of fungi or yeast, which is responsible for the fungal infection Candidosis with Candida albicans being the most common trigger.

As with many bacteria, Candida is generally present in healthy people. But when the natural balance is disturbed, Candida can overgrow and cause vaginal symptoms such as itchiness, a burning sensation, a greyish discharge and general irritation.

Treatment

Treatment for vaginal infections often involves antibiotics or antimycotics. However, these therapies are not always effective as infections can recur and problems can remain due to bacterial and fungal resistance due to over-treatment. Moreover, antibiotics and antimycotics don’t only kill the bad but also the good bacteria and fungi.

Alternative remedies are of interest. As lactobacilli are naturally designed to keep the vaginal ecosystem healthy and stimulate the immune system, the medical world is attaching more and more importance to their potential therapeutic effects.

YUN vaginal cream

YUN’s natural therapy for the vagina relies on added lactobacilli, which are able to compete with pathogenic bacteria and fungi.

The YUN vaginal cream contains two Lactobacillus strains that have been specifically chosen because they are able to prevent overgrowth of Candida. The formulation is new and unique since the cream consists of live lactobacilli that can restore the natural balance in the vagina. It contains no preservatives whatsoever.

 

 

Interesting references

  • Donders, G. et al., 2015. Effect of ultra-low-dose estriol and lactobacilli vaginal tablets (Gynoflor®) on inflammatory and infectious markers of the vaginal ecosystem in postmenopausal women with breast cancer on aromatase inhibitors. European journal of clinical microbiology & infectious diseases : official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology, 34(10), pp.2023–8.
  • Pendharkar, S. et al., 2015. Vaginal colonisation by probiotic lactobacilli and clinical outcome in women conventionally treated for bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection. BMC infectious diseases, 15(1), p.255.
  • Petrova, M.I. et al., 2015. Lactobacillus species as biomarkers and agents that can promote various aspects of vaginal health. Frontiers in physiology, 6, p.81.
  • Tomusiak, A. et al., 2015. Efficacy and safety of a vaginal medicinal product containing three strains of probiotic bacteria: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial. Drug design, development and therapy, 9, pp.5345–54.

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