Best probiotics for women

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What Are Probiotics?

Recently there has been a lot of hype and some controversy about probiotics. So what are they? According to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, they are “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host.” Microorganisms are not just yucky germs. They include some strains of bacteria that help our bodies function properly. We as humans have lots of microorganisms that live on and in our bodies.

A growing trend on supermarket and health food store shelves includes food and drinks with a “probiotic” component, such as yogurts, fermented veggies, and kombucha teas. These edibles contain “live and active cultures” and are not technically probiotics. You can find true probiotics in a wide array of supplements available over the counter and online. The tricky part is that they are still largely unregulated by the FDA. To get to the bottom of what types of probiotics you should be using, we spoke to Maven Nurse Practitioner Rebecca Callahan.

When is it beneficial to take probiotics?

There is good medical evidence that taking certain probiotics can be beneficial in specific circumstances. For example, taking probiotics along with a course of antibiotics will decrease the chances of you developing diarrhea from those antibiotics. When taken regularly as a supplement, probiotics may decrease the number of colds you get each year.

Which probiotics should I be taking?  

As a women’s health nurse practitioner, I often treat patients with yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and urinary tract infections (UTIs), so I will focus on those issues here.

In addition to traditional treatment with antifungal medication or antibiotics as appropriate, I also recommend my patients take probiotics. Here are my top picks for each situation. However, if you are immunocompromised, check with your healthcare provider first before taking any type of probiotic.

Top Probiotics for Yeast infections:

  • Standard Process ProSynbiotic
  • Solgar Advanced Acidophilus Plus
  • Bayer TruBiotics
  • Metagenics Ultra Flora Women's
  • Jarrow Fem-Dophilus 5 Billion

Top Probiotics For BV treatment:

  • Metagenics Ultra Flora Women's
  • Jarrow Fem-Dophilus 5 Billion
  • Jarrow Fem-Dophilus 1 Billion

Top Probiotics for For UTIs (to take along with antibiotics to decrease incidence of diarrhea):

  • Culturelle Digestive Health
  • Klaire Labs Culturelle
  • Solgar Advanced Multi-Billion Dophilus
  • Doctor's Best Fast Melt Immune Probiotic
  • Metagenics Ultra Flora Spectrum

If you still have questions about probiotics, set up an appointment with one of our nurse practitioners - your first appointment is free!