Many women take probiotics for bacterial vaginosis (BV). For some women, the probiotics seem to work like a charm, while in other women, they do not. This disparity may seem like a mystery at first until you dig a little deeper. As it turns out, some probiotics are more effective at curing BV than others. This is one of those cases where paying attention to the details really matters. You will have a much higher probability of success if you select probiotics that specifically live in the vagina.
The best probiotics for bv are not acidophilus pills. Does this surprise you? Acidophilus is a species of a group of beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillus. As it turns out, humans have many different species of these friendly Lactobacillus bacteria growing inside our bodies. Different species of Lactobacillus prefer different areas of the body. Some prefer to live in digestive tract while others like to live elsewhere. There are three Lactobacillus species that have been discovered so far that like to live in the vagina. These are Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, and Lactobacillus fermentum RC-14. Therefore, when you take probiotics for BV or eat foods containing probiotics, you should look for these specific Lactobacillus species on the label.
Notice that the three best Lactobacillus bacteria species for BV listed above are followed by an alphanumeric code. This code represents the specific strain of that species of Lactobacillus. Some products will not list the specific strains. However, if you eat a variety of probiotic foods that contain these three Lactobacillus species, you should get the strains you need naturally. There are likely other strains that are important to vaginal health that have not yet been discovered. Eating foods containing probiotics give you a better chance of getting these undiscovered beneficial strains than would probiotic pills.
Do probiotics cure BV? Probiotics do not cure BV per se, meaning they do not directly kill the bacteria that cause BV, including different species of Gardnerella, Bacteroides, Mobiluncus, and Mycoplasma. However, the probiotic bacteria do keep this BV bacteria complex from growing into full blown colonies.
Probiotics for bacterial vaginosis work best if your body is at the right pH level. This is a slightly acidic state. If you are really out of balance, you may want to start drinking a cup of water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in every morning and every evening until your pH returns to normal or your BV infection goes away. Later, after your body is back in balance, you can maintain this balance by taking apple cider vinegar in the morning only.
Probiotics also work better for BV if you get a good daily dose of vitamin B9 (folic acid). You can get this by taking a good quality multivitamin, or better yet, by eating more green salads, green herbs like parsley, spinach, and leafy Brassica greens like kale.