Probiotic supplements for women can be a valuable addition to your daily nutrition. We have to go through a myriad of health-related things on a monthly basis, including bloating, cramps, constipation… and that’s not even including things that fall outside of those 2 weeks!
Taking a daily probiotic supplement isn’t exactly a magic bullet, but all evidence suggests that it can make a huge positive difference to your health. Here’s what you need to know to choose the best one for you!
What Are Probiotics?
In a nutshell, probiotics are good bacteria that help to keep you in optimal health. It might seem unappealing to think of ingesting live bacteria in a supplement, but it’s natural and the exact same stuff that you already have in your gut.
Probiotics vs Prebiotics
It can be easy to confuse prebiotic and probiotic supplements. Probiotics are the live bacteria that you find in your body and in supplements, while prebiotics are the stuff probiotic bacteria eat.
You usually find prebiotics in fiber-rich foods, which is why you may have seen supplements out there called “prebiotic fiber.”
Do you need both? Technically, yes… but that doesn’t mean you need to take supplements for both. As long as you’re getting enough insoluble fiber in your diet, your prebiotics should be taken care of!
How Can Probiotics Help Women?
When the balance of bacteria in your gut gets disrupted, it can lead to a wide variety of unpleasant effects. And unfortunately, it’s quite easy for your system to become disrupted.
Eat something that doesn’t agree with you, eat too much of one thing and not enough of another, take some meds, drink too little water… All of these things (and a whole lot more) can cause your gut bacteria to go out of whack.
Taking a probiotic supplement helps to balance out that bacteria. If too much bad bacteria has entered, the addition of more good bacteria evens it out. If the good bacteria has just diminished a bit, it brings those numbers up again.
Probiotics can help everyone, but they do have some great health benefits for women in particular. A great probiotic for women can:
1. Reduce Bloating
We all deal with bloating at some point… whether it’s after eating all the carbs or during that time of the month. It can be uncomfortable or even painful, not to mention that it can cause us women to not fit into our favorite pair of jeans.
Bloating can be caused by a variety of factors, like:
- Infection (even mild)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Water retention
- Eating too much
- Response to medications
- Alcohol consumption
- A bad case of gas
And in most cases, these things can be eased by a dose of probiotics. If the bloating is a result of an infection, bad bacteria could be to blame. A probiotic supplement will help to do away with it.
If you’ve eaten too much, had a bit too much to drink, or have been taking meds, your gut bacteria could be disrupted. Probiotics can restore harmony.
2. Improve Bowel Function
Constipation is another thing we all struggle with from time to time. Sometimes it’s because the gut bacteria has fallen out of balance. Other times, it’s during our monthly cycle. And sometimes, it’s just because of a big, fiber-rich meal you ate.
Did you know that a daily probiotic supplement can keep you regular? The addition of new, healthy bacteria to your system every day means your gut can perform at its best, keeping your metabolism speedy.
Constipation can also be a cause for bloating, so you’ll be getting two-for-one if that’s what the underlying issue is. Fix one with probiotics, and it automatically fixes the other.
3. Boost the Immune System
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said that “all disease begins in the gut.” You may be surprised to learn that gut health and immune function go hand in hand, and there’s evidence that multiple autoimmune, metabolic, and cognitive issues do, in fact, start in the gut.
If your gut is unhealthy, it spills over into every other part of you… including your immune system. On the other hand, if your gut is good, your immune system is bolstered.
While probiotics can help immensely to build digestion immunity, your best bet is to actually begin living a healthier lifestyle. Eat whole foods, stay hydrated, get daily exercise and fresh air, and you’ll be surprised how both your gut and immune system improve.
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4. Improve Vaginal Health
Don’t forget, we women have bacteria in places other than our stomachs! Having balanced bacteria levels down under can prevent poor hygiene and infection.
And this is where probiotics can once again help. Research suggests that probiotics can inhibit bacteria growth and reduce your chances of developing bacterial vaginosis. While inhibiting overgrowth, it also supports the growth of healthy bacteria.
5. Reduce Chance of UTIs
A UTI and a vaginal infection are two different things, but they can both be caused by bad bacteria. Probiotics can also help you to maintain urinary tract health and balance pH, reducing the chance of developing infections.
6. Increase Energy Levels
When your gut isn’t working quite as it should, the body expends more energy extracting nutrients from the food you ingest. You won’t necessarily know it, as you don’t feel energy draining during digestion.
But the addition of extra, healthy bacteria in the form of a probiotic can do the heavy lifting for you. This leaves you with more energy to put towards day-to-day activities!
Signs You Need Probiotics
There are many signs and symptoms that come with poor gut health. You might be surprised to learn that some of them aren’t even associated with the digestive system!
How many of these symptoms can you tick off the list?
- Irregular bowel movements
- Excessive sugar cravings
- Sluggish metabolism
- Bloating and gas
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- New food allergies
- Low immune system
- Skin rashes, eczema
- Consistent bad mood
- Recent use of an antibiotic
If you’ve got more than one of these happening and you can’t quite figure out why… a probiotic could be your solution.
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What’s the Best Probiotic for Women?
Plenty of research has been done on women’s health, and that extends to probiotics. Research suggests that certain probiotic strains may be better for female health than others.
A probiotic supplement containing lactobacillus and bifidobacterium lactis in particular shows excellent results, especially in terms of digestive and vaginal health. And when used together, evidence shows that they may have antidepressant properties.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be taking other strains, though! Every strain helps, but if you want the best probiotic for women, make sure it contains these ones.
Probiotics We Recommend
Before we offer up our favorite probiotic for women, here’s how we chose them.
- Carefully chosen strains. We’ve looked for probiotics that contain the “super 2” mentioned above. These are excellent for women, so it goes without saying!
- A decent CFU count. This refers to the number of live bacteria (colony-forming units) in the supplement. Varies from 1 billion to 10 billions CFUs per serving.
- Ease of storage. Some need refrigerating, while others are shelf-stable.
- Third-party tested. Being tested by third-party testers helps to verify the safety, effectiveness, and strength of the probiotic.
- Dietary needs. Some products are vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, and so on.
Best Strains: Floraspring
Floraspring is an excellent choice for total gut health. By balancing out your gut bacteria, everything else in your body falls into place a whole lot easier.
CFUs: 25 billion
Strains: 5 super strains, 9 booster strains
If you wish to lose weight, Floraspring has great potential. It improves digestion, reduces cravings, and eases inflammation in the gut—all of which are wonderful properties for boosting general health during your menstrual cycle as well.
5 potent bacteria strains—including lactobacilli and bifidobacterium lactis—get to work almost immediately. They’re backed up by 9 booster strains, covering all your bases.
Dairy-free, gluten-free, shelf-stable, and with a shelf life of up to a year, Floraspring is a probiotic for women we can recommend.
Best Overall Health: Renew Life
Renew Life is formulated to support digestive health, vaginal health, urinary health, and build a healthy immune system. If you’re looking for an all-in-one, this is a great option.
CFUs: 25 billion
Strains: 12 strains
With 12 strains of bacteria, including the most-researched strain and 2 specifically for vaginal health, this probiotic has been formulated by microbiologists so you know it’s good. A delayed-release formula ensures that the bacteria stays safe until it reaches your gut, where it can do its thing.
The vegetarian capsules are gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free, so almost anybody can take them safely and easily.
Best for Vaginal Health: Happy Hoo-Ha
This probiotic for women is all about vaginal health. It’s specifically formulated to meet your intimate hygiene needs, rather than digestion.
CFUs: 10 billion
Strains: 2 strains of lactobacilli
Designed specifically to balance your pH and keep the good bacteria thriving, Happy Hoo-Ha uses two strains of women-friendly lactobacilli to achieve ideal health and hygiene.
It’s important not to compare this probiotic to those formulated specifically for digestion. As vagina-friendly probiotics go, this one is top of the range and highly recommended!
Most Potent: Garden of Life RAW Probiotics
One of the strongest you’ll find out there, Garden of Life RAW Probiotics packs a punch. It’s formulated to boost digestive, vaginal, and immune system health all in one.
CFUs: 85 billion
Strains: 32 strains included
There’s a lot packed into this little supplement. Firstly, you’ll get 85 billion CFUs in each dose, more than enough to balance even the worst of skewed bacteria! Secondly, there are 32 unique strains in this probiotic, which is more than you’ll find anywhere else.
And that means that this daily probiotic offers a whole lot of health benefits. Aside from balancing your gut bacteria, ensuring a healthy vaginal environment, and boosting your immune system… it also supports healthy thyroid function, assists with nutrient absorption, provides dairy-digesting enzymes, and offers a dose of vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics.
Best Prebiotic and Probiotic: Happy V
If you’re looking for a combination prebiotic and probiotic for women, Happy V is a good choice. Great for both vaginal and gut health, the combination has been clinically proven to improve health in multiple ways.
CFUs: 20 billion
Strains: Probiotic and prebiotic strains
These delayed-reaction capsules are vegan, non-GMO, and free from both allergens and artificial ingredients. Their formulation helps to support gut health by destroying bad bacteria with its PreforPro prebiotic. From there, it introduces potent good bacteria, leaving it to transform your gut.
As well as improved gut health, the added probiotics create the ideal vaginal pH by increasing the acidity. This allows good bacteria to thrive, reducing the chance of infection or bad bacteria getting in.
The Best Probiotic for Women: Up To You
We’ve given you our favorites, but ultimately, the best probiotic for women in general may not be the best for YOU. If you’re choosing a probiotic for the first time, take your time! Compare, consider the type of probiotic and what they work well for (gut health vs vaginal health, for example), and make an informed decision.
Whichever one you choose, you’ve taken a step toward better health! All that remains is to be consistent, pair your probiotic supplement with a healthy diet and lifestyle, and you should see drastic improvements to your health.