Probiotics are a kind of “good” bacteria normally already present in a person’s digestive tract and, for women, in the vagina. Probiotics fight against the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Vaginal probiotics, specifically, prevent the overgrowth of candida that’s responsible for yeast infections. Most vaginal probiotics do this with a good bacteria called lactobacillus. Women can purchase vaginal probiotics without prescriptions, but because probiotics shouldn’t be used if certain health conditions are present and recurring yeast infections can be signs of more serious health problems, they should first talk with their doctors.
There are various types and sources of probiotics, but the most common types of vaginal probiotics are oral supplements and vaginal suppositories. The way, and exact purpose for which, a woman uses these products depends on the product itself and the included instructions. For example, oral probiotic supplements are usually designed to be taken daily to help in preventing yeast infections. Some oral supplements might be designed to be taken several times a day for a certain number of days to alleviate the symptoms of and treat yeast infections. On the other hand, vaginal suppositories are usually intended to be inserted in the vagina for a certain number of days for the sole purpose of curing or alleviating the symptoms of a current yeast infection.
Vaginal probiotics don’t require prescriptions. Women can find over-the-counter vaginal probiotics at most drug stores, health and wellness stores, and even in the pharmaceutical sections of grocery stores. Many companies sell these types of probiotics online via websites, and some health chains even sell the probiotics through catalogs or over the telephone. The price of daily probiotic supplements designed for preventing yeast infections is usually similar to the cost of any other bottle of supplements. The cost of vaginal probiotics for relieving symptoms and treating current yeast infections is comparable, and sometimes less expensive, than traditional yeast infection treatments.
Even though vaginal probiotics are available without a prescription, it’s a good idea for women to talk with their doctors before they start using probiotic supplements. Many health care professionals advise people who have existing damage in their intestines or an overgrowth of bacteria in their intestines to avoid using probiotics. Probiotics are also not recommended for people with weakened immune systems. It’s especially important for a woman who hopes to find relief from frequent yeast infections by using probiotics to talk with her doctor. Frequent yeast infections could be a symptom of an underlying, more serious health concern.