During menopause, numbers of good bacteria in the birth canal drop and healthy microbes living on vaginal tissue dwindle, which can cause symptoms like vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, or vaginal tissue inflammation. (1)
Despite this, menopause can actually be a time of profound beauty, satisfaction and celebration. How is this possible? Prepare your body and mind for this incredible time that’s part of our journey as women.
First, it’s essential to take care of digestion for a healthy reproductive system and well-balanced hormones.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that probiotics may help manage the communities of vaginal microbes and shift the balance of the vaginal inner ecosystem without side effects. (2) They are even hopeful that probiotics might prevent or treat Vulvovaginal atrophy in the future. (3)
Beneficial lactic acid bacteria produce toxins that fight off harmful microbes, preventing harmful bacteria from sticking to vaginal tissue. They also modulate the immune system and interfere with the inflammatory cascade, which can mean less tissue damage. (4)
For the last two decades, Body Ecology has been teaching about the importance of fermented (or cultured) foods rich in lactic acid bacteria. We especially love teaching women how to ferment vegetables. You simply shred them up, pack them in jar, and refrigerate.
Loaded with a large diversity of robust, hearty bacteria, they are an excellent food for women of all ages.
So embrace this perfectly natural “cycle of life” joyfully and comfortably. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years, however, it’s also the beginning of time for you.
Enjoy a small serving of fermented foods or a few ounces of a fermented beverage at every meal. It’s the perfect way to support the balance of bacteria living in the gut and in the birth canal, and help promote a smoother transition into menopause.
1. Brotman, R. M., Shardell, M. D., Gajer, P., Fadrosh, D., Chang, K., Silver, M. I., ... & Gravitt, P. E. (2013). Association between the vaginal microbiota, menopause status, and signs of vulvovaginal atrophy. Menopause (New York, NY).
2. Reid, G., & Burton, J. (2002). Use of Lactobacillus to prevent infection by pathogenic bacteria. Microbes and Infection,4(3), 319-324.
3. Reid, G., & Bocking, A. (2003). The potential for probiotics to prevent bacterial vaginosis and preterm labor. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 189(4), 1202-1208.
4. Parma, M., Dindelli, M., Caputo, L., Redaelli, A., Quaranta, L., & Candiani, M. (2013). The role of vaginal Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (Normogin®) in preventing Bacterial Vaginosis in women with history of recurrences, undergoing surgical menopause: a prospective pilot study. European review for medical and pharmacological sciences, 17(10), 1399-1403.
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Hello Donna Gates,
I found your article to be very interesting. The effectiveness of probiotics to prevent and reverse vaginal atrophy is promising. It is particularly appealing to me because I am post menopausal and have been prescribed an estrogen inhibitor to prevent recurrence of breast cancer.
Regards,April 25, 2014 - 4:33pm