For this article, I have looked into clinical evidence and user reviews to provide you with a satisfactory answer to the question of how the question of if probiotics cause more discharge.
An abundance of good bacteria in your vaginal microbiome counteracts the growth of infectious microorganisms by various mechanisms.
Therefore, moderate probiotics consumption is beneficial in maintaining microbial diversity, which ultimately affects your vaginal health and discharge characteristics. However, overdosing on probiotic microorganisms may set the vaginal microbiome off balance and cause excessive discharge with an altered consistency.
So, in this article, you will find how probiotics may affect your discharge characteristics and some top supplements that you may use to support vaginal health.
Keep reading to know the details.
Do Probiotics Affect Discharge?
Yes, probiotics may positively affect vaginal discharge if taken within the recommended limit.
An unusual vaginal discharge mostly occurs from infections caused due to dysbiosis (imbalance) in the vaginal microbiome. And in this case, the probiotics may help restore healthy microbial diversity, which prevents and treats the symptoms.
For instance, Lactobacillus strains produce lactic acid, which makes the vagina’s pH acidic (3.8 to 4.5) and inhibits the growth of yeast and other pathogenic organisms that might cause abnormal discharge.
My research on how probiotics may affect discharge revealed:
Probiotics May Normalize Abnormal Discharge
Bacterial vaginosis and aerobic vaginitis are two vaginal infections that mainly cause discharge of unusual appearance, consistency, and smell.
According to the NHS, bacterial vaginosis may cause a greyish-white or milky discharge that is thin, watery and has a fishy odor.
Similarly, aerobic vaginosis is most commonly associated with E. coli. It may manifest symptoms like a sticky, yellowish, or green discharge with a rotten odor, along with symptoms of vaginal inflammation.
To look for a cure, a clinical trial tested the effectiveness of the L. fermentum and L. plantarum probiotic strains in these conditions.
The results showed that these probiotics significantly improve the uncomfortable symptoms by stabilizing the vaginal flora and effectively counteracting acute Gardnerella infections.
Additionally, they may also provide long-term protection and reduce recurrent infections by preventing the colonization of Gardnerella or E. coli.
Probiotics May Improve The Vaginal Bacterial Count
Probiotic intake supports the healthy vaginal microbiota status, which protects against the symptom of altered discharge.
This was proven by a 2019 randomized control trial that recruited forty healthy women to evaluate the safety and tolerability of Lactobacillus crispatus strains in them.
In this trial, the study group was fed 109 CFU of three strains of L. crispatus probiotic for one week.
The results showed that probiotic intake reduced the Gardnerella vaginalis counts and the median concentration of bacterial counts in the intervention group as compared to the control group, who were fed a placebo.
These findings are significant because both the total bacterial and G. vaginalis concentrations are increased in bacterial vaginosis.
Probiotics May Normalize Smell And Irregularity In Vaginal Discharge
Apart from the clinical evidence, women on Reddit have shared how the characteristics of their vaginal discharge have improved greatly with probiotic intake.
So, here are some stories that I picked for you.
- Oranbot Redeemed Her Reproductive Health And Confidence With Probiotics
A Reddit user, Oranbot, shared in her post that she was suffering from vaginal dryness, smelly discharge, and recurrent vaginal and urinary tract infections.
But only after two weeks of using the Viva Naturals “Probiotics for Women – 50 Billion CFU” has she regained the wetness down there, and her discharge has also got less smelly.
- A Pot Of Yogurt And A Probiotic Pill Cured Cucumberrella’s BV Symptoms
Cucumberrella wrote in her Reddit post that she suffered from bacterial vaginosis for more than 7 years and tried antibiotics, boric acid suppositories, and even probiotic pills, but nothing worked.
However, when she combined her 90 billion women’s probiotic supplements with yogurt, she noticed a 60% improvement in her symptoms.
This probiotic combo helped greatly to reduce the smell and amount of her discharge.
Can Too Much Probiotics Cause Discharge?
Yes, overdosing on probiotics may cause an overgrowth of lactobacilli bacteria, which may resultantly cause excessive discharge.
In the worst-case scenario, lactobacilli overgrowth may cause vaginal Lactobacillus or cytolytic vaginosis.
Here, vaginal Lactobacillus is characterized by a profuse, thick, white, and curdy discharge that gives a sensation of vaginal wetness.
Compared to this, cytolytic vaginosis manifests symptoms like increased discharge with a cottage-cheese appearance.
I further looked into Reddit to check if probiotics cause more discharge in users, and here is one piece of evidence that proves my stance.
Does Taking Probiotics Cause More Discharge? – Reddit
Markdemaco started this Reddit thread to ask if we can overdo probiotics because she obsessively took probiotic pills and foods after her doctor recommended she take them to cure her yeast infection.
But instead, they have rendered her prescription of Diflucan (anti-fungal) ineffective against her infection.
To this, a replier’ sunkissedpride’ shared that it is highly possible because a week after she overdosed on yogurt, 2 probiotic supplements, and intravaginal probiotics, she was diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis (which she rather suspects to be cytolytic vaginosis/lactobacillus overgrowth syndrome).
Although she got better after giving up on probiotics and with treatment, she is still battling some symptoms like excessive vaginal discharge and itchiness.
Probiotic For Vaginal Odor – Does It Work Or Make It Worse?
Probiotics may help with vaginal odor rather than making it worse.
As mentioned above, probiotics may reduce the odor of vaginal discharge if it is caused by infections like bacterial vaginosis.
In the worst case, overconsuming women’s probiotics may cause lactobacillus or cytolytic vaginosis. And neither of these conditions is an infection, and although they are characterized by an excessive discharge, it is odorless.
Best Probiotics For Vaginal Health – 5 Options To Choose From
If you are convinced to use probiotics to boost your vaginal health, then here are my top five recommendations to help you start off.
1. Garden of Life Raw Probiotics Vaginal Care probiotics
The garden of life raw probiotics formula is optimized to provide vaginal and urinary tract support, improve gut health, and prevent yeast infections.
They are unique because, unlike most probiotic pills that have some isolated strains only, these supplements feature a long list of eight clinically proven strains as well as whole food probiotics present in Bulgarian yogurt concentrate and wild European kefir.
These good bacteria help to protect urogenital health by establishing and maintaining the microbial diversity there.
The best part about its probiotic blend is that it contains L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and L. reuteri strains which are the most studied for their potential to improve vaginal health.
The next highlight of its formulation is the yeast enzyme blend that contains cellulose, hemicellulose, and lysozyme, which break down yeast cell walls and reduce their number.
You can buy a one-month supply of 30 capsules at a retail price of $49.99.
- Supports gut, vaginal, and urinary tract health & contains a yeast-digesting enzyme blend.
- Contains 50 billion CFU of 38 probiotic strains.
- Offers free shipping on orders over $25 & is NSF- certified.
- Has a vegetarian formula.
- Doesn’t require refrigeration.
- Contains no artificial fillers, binders, flavors, sugars, or colors.
- Comes with a 30-day return policy.
- A bit expensive.
- Contains dairy allergens (milk, egg).
2. Happy V Women’s Daily Probiotics
The Happy V women’s daily probiotics feature science-backed ingredients to improve the health of your vagina, gut, and immune system.
It contains the exclusive bacteriophage prebiotic blend that is 6 times more effective in flourishing the probiotic bacteria in the intestines.
Moreover, unlike traditional fiber, this patented prebiotic blend poses zero risk of gastrointestinal side effects.
Complimentary to this is its probiotic blend that contains the clinically proven L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. gasseri, and L. reuteri strains that acidify the vaginal pH by producing hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid.
Correspondingly the acidic pH of the vagina inhibits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and prevents BV, yeast infections, and UTIs.
Additionally, it contains biotin, which many case reports have identified as effective in resolving symptoms of vaginal candidiasis.
It also contains the B. lactis and B. subtilis that preserve gut function and enhance immunity.
You can purchase 60 capsules that last a whole month for $38.99.
- Promotes vaginal, gut, and immune health & contains clinically proven probiotics and prebiotics.
- Provides 20 billion active CFU of seven probiotic strains.
- Backed by scientific studies.
- The delayed-release capsules deliver live bacteria to the intestine.
- Helps treat bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
- Shelf-stable & has a vegan and non-GMO formulation.
- Prepared in cGMP and FDA-registered facilities.
- Free from dairy, gluten, shellfish, wheat, and nut allergens.
- Offers free delivery on subscriptions and orders over $60.
- Offers a 30-day refund policy.
- Recommended to be taken two times every day.
3. Renew Life Women’s Care Probiotic
The Renew Life women’s probiotics are based on clinically reviewed probiotic strains that are beneficial for urogenital health, immunity, and digestion.
It has two probiotic blends; one is based on three Bifidobacterium species which modulate digestive and immune system function.
While the other contains nine Lactobacillus strains, namely L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. reuteri, L. rhamnosus, L. lactis, L. paracasei, L. casei, L. rhamnosus GG and L. brevis that repopulate the vaginal microbiome to prevent unusual discharge due to infections.
You can stock a 30-day supply of this probiotic supplement for $37.49.
- Supports vaginal, urinary tract, digestive, and immune support for women.
- 90 billion CFU of 12 probiotic strains.
- Vegetarian-friendly formula.
- Free of soy allergens & GMOs.
- Delivers live probiotics directly to the intestine via delayed-release capsules.
- Offers free shipping & available on the official website, amazon, or physical stores.
- 60-day money-back guarantee.
- Needs to be refrigerated or stored below 25°C.
4. Physician’s Choice Women’s Probiotics
The Physical’s choice probiotics is a professional-grade product that has been carefully fetched in clinically acclaimed probiotic strains and supplementary ingredients to boost genital health.
It has five Lactobacillus and one Bifidobacterium strain that promotes gastrointestinal well-being, aids immune function, and maintains the microbiome diversity of the vagina.
A vaginal microbiome that is abundant in the lactobacillus species exerts a protective effect against urinogenital infections, which may alter discharge characteristics.
Similarly, the D mannose and cranberry extract also prevent the attachment and colonization of pathogenic bacteria to the urinary tract and ward off vaginal infections.
It also has prebiotics in the form of fiber derived from artichoke root and gum Arabic, which nourish the probiotic bacteria in the gut and enhance their survival.
You can buy its one-month supply of 30 capsules for $25.95.
- Improves the immune system and digestive and urinogenital health.
- Doesn’t require refrigeration.
- Protected in acid-resistant delayed-release capsules.
- It has 50 billion CFU of six pro & prebiotic strains.
- Vegan formula.
- 60-day money-back guarantee & free shipping.
5. RepHresh Pro-B Feminine Probiotic
The simple formula of RepHresh Pro-B probiotic is especially focused on feminine health.
It has the clinically tested L. rhamnosus and L. reuteri probiotic strains that normalize the vaginal pH to prevent yeast and bacterial infections and re-infections.
Users on the websites rated this product 4.9 and 5 stars for improving the vaginal odor and vaginal pH, respectively.
One bottle would cost you $25.95 (via Walmart) and includes 30 capsules that last a whole month.
- 5 billion CFU of probiotics.
- 2 probiotic strains.
- It is free from dairy, egg, fish, gluten, peanut, or soy allergens.
- Proprietary blend.
- Contains maltodextrin
- May lose potency if stored above room temperature.
- Can not be bought directly via the website.
Can Probiotics Cause Brown Discharge?
No, there is no evidence to support this case. But instead, brown discharge may be linked to bacterial vaginosis.
Can Probiotics Make BV Worse?
No, most studies have found that probiotics are an effective treatment for bacterial vaginosis (BV) and don’t usually cause side effects.
How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Clear Up BV?
A review of different clinical trials concluded that in most cases, intravaginal administration of probiotics might cure BV in 6-12 weeks Whereas, oral probiotics may take as long as two months. Nonetheless, probiotics may take at least 2-weeks to work.
To conclude, the answer to can probiotics cause excessive discharge is ‘yes.’ The reason is that, like the gut or skin microbiome, the vaginal microbiome also holds prime importance in maintaining genitourinary health.
All in all, vaginal health is mostly attributed to probiotic species belonging to the Lactobacillus family (but other microorganisms also play a role).
Furthermore, the clinical investigations that evaluated probiotic use for enhancing vaginal health have rendered positive outcomes, especially with L .acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and L. reuteri strains.
Therefore, the world is seeing a shift towards the trend of using probiotics for treating vaginal issues like smelly or excessive discharge.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that overstuffing probiotics won’t have opposite consequences.
So, always ask a doctor to recommend a dose that suits your needs well.
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