Probiotics for vaginal flora? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-19-2009, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm probably sounding like a total nut-job here, but I recently read in GAPS about how the vaginal flora affects the new baby, and that the first few days after birth are really the only chance we get to populate the gut. Until that explanation, I really had no idea how the father contributed imbalances and deficiencies to the baby. Apparently the vaginal flora are a combination of the woman's gut/bowel flora and the man's flora from his groin area (which tends to be the same bugs as are in his gut). Truly amazing, I must say!! I mean, it makes total sense, but I had never put 2 and 2 together before. (Mental note adding this info to "the talk" I will have with DD in about 10 years.) Anyhoo, I was wondering whether there has been any research on boosting good vaginal flora with probiotics. What do you think would be the risks of trying (say towards the end of the pregnancy)? I know that plain yogurt up there is good for yeast infections. Am I officially off the deep end?

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#2 of 12 Old 01-19-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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I've read over and over about trying to prevent an overpopulation of group b strep or to wipe it out with probiotics, and this specific product has been recommended, with these two strains of lactobacillus: http://www.jarrow.com/product-391 It seems that on the GBS front it's no sure thing, but just supporting natural balance certainly can't hurt.
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#3 of 12 Old 01-19-2009, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Looks promising! I see that it's oral, though. Can it really be that much different than taking other oral probiotics?

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#4 of 12 Old 01-19-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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hmmm interesting. might work. grossest thing ever trying to get it there, but yogurt smeared up there really does do wonders for yeast infections, so why wouldn't it help for just helping to maintain good flora for the baby?

Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing
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#5 of 12 Old 01-20-2009, 01:33 AM
 
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I don't believe you want to disrupt the microflora balance in the vagina before birth, by adding yogurt. A balanced microflora is the result of a healthy immune system. The gut is 70-80% of our immune system. So, you want to consume whole food probiotics on a regular basis, orally to colonize the gut.

We have tons of info about "Healing the Gut" in the Health and Healing forum: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=434071

I'd work at adding the top 10 'gut healing' supplements to maximize health. CLO, CO, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, selenium, bone broths, whole food probiotics: (non-dairy) yogurt, kefir, kombucha, fermented vegetables. (These are easy, although "foreign" at first.)

Also, high doses of vit C, and Epsom salt baths for detox.

Yeast overgrowth stuff is covered here: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=941070 It talks about C-sections initially. But, the point is antibiotics leading to allergies leading to asthma. All due to yeast overgrowth. Yeast infections are an external manifestation of an impaired immune system.

And here, regarding preventing chronic immune system issues: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...c#post12948063

Nutrient dense foods and gut health are the keys to strengthening the immune system. Here is a list of the "World's Healthiest Foods". This is a non-profit site which lists the most nutrient dense foods. http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

I was shocked to learn all of this, AFTER ds received antibiotics at birth.


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#6 of 12 Old 01-20-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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This is from the GAPS website http://www.gapsdiet.com/FAQs.html:

"Any special recommendations for pregnant women?

For pregnancy, the diet is very important. The birth canal also needs to be prepared for birth by populating it with beneficial bacteria. To do that, apply live yogurt or kefir on your genital area after you bathe, particularly in the last trimester. Also apply kefir or yogurt on your breasts and armpits. Every 2-3 weeks, insert 1-2 capsules of Bio-Kult in the vagina at bedtime, particularly if there are any unpleasant symptoms in that area."

HTH! Carla
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#7 of 12 Old 01-20-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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See, I just can't agree. And I am actively advocating beneficial kefir consumption nutritionally. My concern is that kefir has 37+ beneficial microbials, but the gut has over 400 microbials. To colonize the vagina and perineal area with a large dose of ONLY 37 microbials seems to interfere with the natural vaginal microbial counts, displacing and replacing the NORMAL flora of the vagina.

IF one has active yeast in the vagina, which is NOT NORMAL, perhaps, consider actively countering that with a topical probiotic. But, like antibiotics, the microbials destroyed in the wake of dosing with large doses of alternate bacteria disrupts. It is the presumption that "we" know more than Mother Nature about which microbials need to be artificially and arbitrarily colonizing the gut. (For the same reason, I'm not a bottled probiotic fan.)

When we consume whole food probiotics, such as yogurt and kefir, the body has the opportunity to manage the microbial balance organically, with digestive enzymes, proper ph, natural microbial competition. Topical applications of probiotics or washes/douches to the vagina is an ABNORMAL route of administration. Similar to vaccines administered through an alternate route than Mother Nature intended diseases to be managed.

Just because I read it on the internet, doesn't make it logical or beneficial, ime. Per my understanding, vaginal microbial balance, like all immune system issues, is benefited from Traditional Foods, through traditional consumption.


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#8 of 12 Old 01-20-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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The birth canal also needs to be prepared for birth by populating it with beneficial bacteria.
The birth canal of healthy pregnant women does not "need to be prepared for birth". In my paradigm of the world, this is a non sequitur.


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#9 of 12 Old 01-20-2009, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by zeiter View Post
This is from the GAPS website http://www.gapsdiet.com/FAQs.html:

"Any special recommendations for pregnant women?

For pregnancy, the diet is very important. The birth canal also needs to be prepared for birth by populating it with beneficial bacteria. To do that, apply live yogurt or kefir on your genital area after you bathe, particularly in the last trimester. Also apply kefir or yogurt on your breasts and armpits. Every 2-3 weeks, insert 1-2 capsules of Bio-Kult in the vagina at bedtime, particularly if there are any unpleasant symptoms in that area."

HTH! Carla
Nice! Thanks!

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#10 of 12 Old 01-20-2009, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
See, I just can't agree. And I am actively advocating beneficial kefir consumption nutritionally. My concern is that kefir has 37+ beneficial microbials, but the gut has over 400 microbials. To colonize the vagina and perineal area with a large dose of ONLY 37 microbials seems to interfere with the natural vaginal microbial counts, displacing and replacing the NORMAL flora of the vagina.

IF one has active yeast in the vagina, which is NOT NORMAL, perhaps, consider actively countering that with a topical probiotic. But, like antibiotics, the microbials destroyed in the wake of dosing with large doses of alternate bacteria disrupts. It is the presumption that "we" know more than Mother Nature about which microbials need to be artificially and arbitrarily colonizing the gut. (For the same reason, I'm not a bottled probiotic fan.)

When we consume whole food probiotics, such as yogurt and kefir, the body has the opportunity to manage the microbial balance organically, with digestive enzymes, proper ph, natural microbial competition. Topical applications of probiotics or washes/douches to the vagina is an ABNORMAL route of administration. Similar to vaccines administered through an alternate route than Mother Nature intended diseases to be managed.

Just because I read it on the internet, doesn't make it logical or beneficial, ime. Per my understanding, vaginal microbial balance, like all immune system issues, is benefited from Traditional Foods, through traditional consumption.


Pat
Part of the GAPS theory is that many of us do not carry the proper balance of normal gut flora, which manifests in several symptoms listed in the book. In the presence of these indicators is when I would consider using these measures to help mitigate the effects of passing abnormal flora to a newborn.

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#11 of 12 Old 01-20-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
See, I just can't agree. And I am actively advocating beneficial kefir consumption nutritionally. My concern is that kefir has 37+ beneficial microbials, but the gut has over 400 microbials. To colonize the vagina and perineal area with a large dose of ONLY 37 microbials seems to interfere with the natural vaginal microbial counts, displacing and replacing the NORMAL flora of the vagina.

IF one has active yeast in the vagina, which is NOT NORMAL, perhaps, consider actively countering that with a topical probiotic. But, like antibiotics, the microbials destroyed in the wake of dosing with large doses of alternate bacteria disrupts. It is the presumption that "we" know more than Mother Nature about which microbials need to be artificially and arbitrarily colonizing the gut. (For the same reason, I'm not a bottled probiotic fan.)

When we consume whole food probiotics, such as yogurt and kefir, the body has the opportunity to manage the microbial balance organically, with digestive enzymes, proper ph, natural microbial competition. Topical applications of probiotics or washes/douches to the vagina is an ABNORMAL route of administration. Similar to vaccines administered through an alternate route than Mother Nature intended diseases to be managed.

Just because I read it on the internet, doesn't make it logical or beneficial, ime. Per my understanding, vaginal microbial balance, like all immune system issues, is benefited from Traditional Foods, through traditional consumption.


Pat
How is specifically colonizing the vaginal area with certain strains any different than specifically colonizing the gut with certain strains? I don't expect the strains in any particular probiotic or probiotic food to "take over" the gut flora, so why would it be any different for the vaginal flora?

Sure, ideally we'd all have healthy gut flora and then we'd all have healthy vaginal flora too, but in real life I don't think that's the case much of the time.

FWIW I took Jarrow's Fem-Dophilus during the last part of my pregnancy and also inserted it vaginally a couple of times a week. Doesn't appear to have done my baby any good, though
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#12 of 12 Old 01-20-2009, 07:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by caedmyn View Post
How is specifically colonizing the vaginal area with certain strains any different than specifically colonizing the gut with certain strains? I don't expect the strains in any particular probiotic or probiotic food to "take over" the gut flora, so why would it be any different for the vaginal flora?
I'm trying to think of an analogy. If the healthy vaginal flora has microbials ABC and we add XYZ which don't normally inhabit it, the XYZ could overgrowth the ABC. Not unlike gardening. If you have a garden and plant a strong ground cover, it will over take the garden, disrupting the existing vegetation. Of course, the vagina has a different ph than the gut. The gut is very acidic. Different "weeds" grow in different gardens. If the garden ph is acidic, different weeds grow than in alkaline environments.

So, if you put something that thrives as beneficial in one environment, it could take over another environment. Just like when we ferment vegetables, we add an acid, or salt to inhibit "bad" bacteria from growing, while allowing the "good" bacteria to thrive.

I'm mixing my metaphors. But, basically, the gut can manage to balance the introduction of the microbials from kefir, it has hundreds of competing microbials. The vagina has a different ph, different microbials, and a different microbial balance. And disrupting that with isolated strains, or "foreign" bacteria and yeasts doesn't sound natural, traditional, or preferable, from my understanding of the immune system.

Granted, many folks have disrupted gut microflora. I maintain the path to *correcting* that isn't through introduction of bacteria in non-traditional routes. Most probiotics sold do not even thrive due to the improper ph of the stomach and gut. Microbials need a specific environment in which to thrive. Increasing consumption of alkaline forming foods, and preparing foods to maximize nutritient absorption, and consuming whole food probiotics will improve the gut flora and the immune system.

I don't believe that we want to "inoculate" the baby's sterile gut with the "wrong" bacteria due to antibiotics, or probiotics, creating imbalance of the normal vaginal flora.

Also, probioitc capsules have significantly fewer viable bacteria which actually reach the gut. Single strain probiotics in quantity could "overwhelm" the gut flora, just as candida can. Cultured dairy has the proper ph for specific microbials to thrive. But, even cultured dairy would have a limited number of microbials which are being introduced to the vagina directly.

Kefir and yogurt or bottled probiotics are just not a natural source of "healthy" microflora to introduce to baby through the vaginal canal, from my understanding. Not because they aren't beneficial to the baby's gut, but because they may kill off the NORMAL bacteria in the vagina which are meant to inoculate the gut.


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