Your vagina has a big community of good and bad bacteria and fungi permanently residing in this microbial heaven of humid, nutritious and warm habitat. The vagina is a big city with communities of microbes all taking up space and resources. Some are friends and some foes, but all are needed to maintain a well-balanced vaginal ecosystem. These microbial communities are in a constant fight for vaginal resources. The group(s) that wins, determines your vaginal health.
While some bacteria and fungi species might be beneficial in maintaining a balanced vagina ecosystem and in maintaining vaginal health, the #1 good vaginal bacteria group are the Lactobacilli. Lactobacilli are believed to promote a healthy ecosystem by producing lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and bacteriocins that mount antimicrobial defense against invasion and colonization by opportunistic (bad) bacteria and fungi resulting in a healthy vagina. The L-lactic acid D-lactic acid produced by Lactobacilli keeps the vagina pH at around 4.5, moderately acidic is good vaginal pH. Lactobacilli are the gatekeepers of your vaginal city and you can help them do their job by maintaining good hygiene and proper diet.
What can disrupt your vaginal ecosystem
The vagina flora is constantly changing in women due to hormonal fluctuations and age. Pregnant and menopausal women may have a decline in their vaginal Lactobacilli community due to hormonal changes; while non-pregnant women with a healthy vagina may have an abundance of Lactobacilli bacteria.
Birth control, antibiotic, antifungal, sexual activity, chronic stress, smoking, douching and regional disparities can all contribute to a decline in Lactobacilli bacteria and a proliferation of pathogenic bacteria.
Gardnerella Vaginalis or G. Vaginalis, which causes Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and Candida Albicans which causes yeast infection are some of the bad guys you want to keep at bay. The best way to do that is to increase your Lactobacilli population.How to increase your Lactobacilli population
The best way to improve or maintain a good Lactobacilli population is by practicing good feminine hygiene and proper diet.
Probiotics supplements and plain Greek yogurt.
I am a big advocate for plain Greek yogurt and I recommend eating one with live Lactobacilli culture whenever possible. Not only does the live Lactobacilli help your down their communities thrive, they also help your good gut bacteria win.
Adding in more of the “good guys” will help keep a well-balanced vaginal ecosystem and stave off infections.