Vaginas are basically self-cleaning ovens. But even then, your vajayjay might need a little TLC sometimes. Enter: Probiotics. Probiotics can help keep your vagina’s pH level in a healthy range and might reduce your risk of vaginal infections.
Here’s a rundown of the best probiotics for vaginal pH balance. We also have the deets on where to buy them and how to use them.
With an average pH of 3.8 to 5.0, vaginas are on the acidic side. This acidic environment helps protect the vagina from bacteria, yeasts, or anything that could otherwise grow and cause infections.
The acidic pH also keeps your vaginal bacteria happy. Just like your gut has a distinct collection of microbes (aka gut microbiome), you also have a vaginal microbiome. A balanced vaginal microbiome is essential for balancing pH levels.
Lactobacillus is the main genus of bacteria found in the vagina. Many bacterial species with differing jobs fall under the Lactobacillus genus. They’re uber important for pH balance because they produce lactic acid.
Lactic acid is a metabolite made when the bacteria break down carbs. Since it’s acidic, lactic acid can help keep your vaginal pH low and free from interloping pathogens.
It’s a two-way street where your vaginal pH helps maintain healthy bacteria levels, but your vaginal bacteria are also essential for maintaining the acidic environment. They work together to keep your vagina itch-free.
Anything that enters the vagina can potentially throw off pH balance. This includes:
Pathogens don’t vibe in acidic environments. So, if your vaginal pH is more basic, it can open the door to some not-so-friendly bacteria and yeast. Here are some vaginal conditions to look out for.
BV is one of the most common vaginal infections. It happens when Lactobacillus bacteria gets replaced by anaerobic bacteria.
BV can be asymptomatic for some. But you might experience:
BV can usually be treated with antibiotics. Your doc might prescribe a gel, cream, or oral meds to help get your vagina back on track. Just keep in mind, reoccurrence is common. So, you might need follow-up treatments if symptoms return.
UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urethra (aka your pee tube). The bacteria can travel north and set up shop in your bladder. It can make you feel like you have to pee all the time, but nothing comes out. Or when you do pee it burns real bad 🔥. To top it all off, UTIs can also cause pelvic pain.
If left unchecked, a UTI can turn into a kidney infection. That’s why it’s 10/10 important you get your UTI treated right away. Your doc can give you antibiotics to kill the bad bacteria. In addition to meds, your doc might suggest a home remedy like drinking lots of water or taking certain supplements.
Yeast infections happen when there’s an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida in the vagina. Yeast infections typically occur due to an imbalance in vaginal bacteria (like after antibiotic use).
Yeast infections can cause foul-smelling, chunky discharge. Other symptoms can include:
Yeast infections are often treated with topical treatment. But for more severe cases, your doc might hook you up with some Rx antifungals. FYI: These treatments can ease symptoms but may not address the bacterial imbalance.
Reminder: Lactobacillus is the primary bacterial genus found in the vagina. It’s vital for making lactic acid that keeps pH low. So supplemental probiotics that contain this strain tend to have the best results in restoring vaginal pH. There’s also a chance Lactobacillus supplements can also lower your risk of UTI. Woot!
The best probiotics for a healthy vaginal pH include:
For an active or recurrent infection, you may want a higher amount of probiotics at one time, so supplements can help or be used in addition to food sources of probiotics. You can also take Lactobacillus supplements as a preventive measure, especially if you get recurrent vaginal infections.
Probiotic supplements are found in a variety of forms like:
You can prob find probiotic supplements containing some (or all!) of the best strains for vaginal health at your local health food store. If not, you can def get high quality products online. While there’s no exact recommended daily dosage, your doc can give you a recommendation based on your unique needs.
Food can be a solid source of probiotics like Lactobacillus. Some sweet options include:
Keep in mind, we need a lot more research to show if eating probiotics have the same benefits as taking a probiotic supplement to benefit vaginal health.
Vaginas naturally have an acidic pH. Certain situations (e.g. sex, menstruation, or antibiotics) can raise your vagina’s pH and mess with your vaginal microbiome. This can increase your risk of infections like UTIs, BV, and yeast infections.
Taking probiotics — especially Lactobacillus strains — might help your vagina get back on track. You can take a probiotic supplement in a pill, capsule, gummy, or powder form. There’s also a chance that eating foods rich in probiotics can help.
PSA: Always talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or supplement regimen.
Last medically reviewed on February 28, 2022



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