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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

The Importance of Microbiomes in Women

Apr 30, 2024 09:31AM ● By Dr. Gary Kracof

There’s a lot of information available about probiotics for the gut microbiome, but less information is available about the specific microbiomes of the skin, lungs, mouth, and even the vagina.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They can aid in digestion/elimination, immune support, mental health, pregnancy and breastfeeding, vaginal and urinary tract health.

While probiotics offer potential health benefits, it’s essential to choose the right strains and formulation based on the individual’s needs and health conditions.

The vaginal microbiome is different than gut microbiome. A healthy vaginal environment is mildly acidic, and therefore Lactobacillus species dominate this ecosystem.

The vaginal microbiome is abundant in Lactobacillus species, as they contribute heavily to the production of lactic acid. Lactic acid maintains a ph of 4 (acidic) which if elevated, is a risk for vaginal imbalances of bacteria and yeast. Both urinary and vaginal symptoms are experienced frequently by women, and the most common therapies do little to address the vaginal ecology balance, and therefore, the treatment may need to be repeated many times as symptoms reappear. Taking the proper probiotic strains can restore the vaginal environment and stop the cycle of repeat imbalances.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 have been studied and proven to support healthy vaginal ecology and promote microbial balance in the vaginal tract.

Twelve to 50 percent of women worldwide experience vaginal microbiome challenges that significantly impact their quality of life. In several clinical studies, daily intake of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 were shown to promote the health of the vaginal microbiota. In another study, women with vaginal microbiome challenges were randomized to receive placebo or both types of the Lactobacillus. After six weeks, significantly more women in the probiotic group maintained a balanced vaginal microbiota.

Urinary tract microbiome challenges are very common, leading to urinary tract symptoms and infections, impacting 150 million people each year. These same two specific strains of probiotics have been associated with supporting the urinary tract in addition to vaginal microbiome support.  Specifically, studies suggest these probiotics promote vaginal and urinary tract health when used alone or in combination with common therapies. In other studies, participants consuming these probiotic strains maintained a healthy urinary tract microbiota with few incidences of urinary tract challenges.

Women that suffer from recurrent vaginal or urinary symptoms should consider taking a probiotic blend such as Ortho Biotic Women’s with the aforementioned studied organisms and limit sugar, white flour, processed foods and fermented foods which can also help restore the proper environment in the vaginal and urinary system.

Dr. Gary Kracoff is a registered pharmacist with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine at the Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center, at 577 Main St., Waltham, MA. Ortho Biotic Women’s is a part of their wide selection of healthy vitamins and nutritional supplements available onsite. Consultations with their professional pharmacists and dieticians are also offered. For more information, call 781-893-3870 ext. 2 or visit

Benefits of Ortho Biotic Women’s

• Helps maintain a healthy vaginal microflora

• Supports urogenital tract health

• Helps establish a healthy vaginal pH and remove unwanted organisms