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Three Reasons Women Should Use Probiotics
We hear a lot of noise about probiotics, but how can you be sure they’re going to be useful for you?
Thankfully, a lot of research has gone into the benefits of probiotics, and the corresponding evidence is quite strong in terms of positive effects. Of course, it doesn’t really matter whether you are male or female, as probiotics are beneficial in general, but if you are a woman, there are a few extra boosts which could send you towards the supplement aisle in your local heath shop a little sooner than you might have realised.
First things first, we’re going to assume that you already know what probiotics are, i.e. they are live bacteria which are beneficial for health, and work to balance out the bad bacteria, mainly in the gut. Probiotics don’t only benefit gut health, but this is certainly where most of the good work is done.
So, if you’re a woman, what are the main three reasons you should be using probiotics?
Improved Gut Health Overall
Women have a tendency to do a million jobs at once. We might be generalising here, but stress amongst females is high, in fact women are generally more likely to become stressed overall. There is a direct link between stress and certain digestive system conditions, e.g. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Studies have shown that stress has a direct impact on worsening of IBS symptoms, and if you’ve ever suffered from this rather unpleasant condition, you’ll know that avoiding flare ups is vital.
It’s not only IBS which is worsened by stress, as general stomach upsets can be caused by becoming worked up over certain issues going on in your life. Put simply, if a woman is more likely than a man to experience stress, and stress impacts on digestive system function, then probiotics could be the answer.
Regular usage of probiotics can help to increase gut health, reduce digestive system conditions, and decrease problems such as bloating and excess gas. Many studies have gone into how probiotics help with the overall digestive system and they all agree that there are a lot of positive effects to be had.
Probiotics Can Help to Reduce Instances of Urinary Tract Infections and Thrush
If you’re one of the many woman who regularly develop UTIs, there is some good news coming your way. Regular probiotic use could cut your chances of developing a UTI, by balancing out the bad bacteria with the good. Whilst there is no guarantee that you will never develop another UTI again in your life, studies have shown that if you do experience one, it will probably be less troublesome and won’t last as long.
In addition, if you are someone who regularly develops thrush, e.g. a yeast infection, then probiotics could also help to reduce the frequency of attacks. Certain strains of probiotics are also yeasts, and by adding these to your diet, you are giving your body a boost of healthy, useful yeasts, to balance out the harmful strains, which cause the problem. This balance between good and bad ensures that thrush outbreaks are far less frequent, and also less troublesome if they do occur.
An Immune System Boost
If you don’t know much about probiotics, when you first hear that these are in fact live cultures of bacteria, you might think that they will worsen your immune system, not benefit it. The opposite is true. By adding in good bacteria to your system, you are creating that balance we just talked about. The bad bacteria which causes illness doesn’t have a chance to run riot, because the good bacteria is battling it.
Probiotics help to replenish the amount of good/positive bacteria you have in your body, and can give your immune system a large boost. If you are someone who regularly becomes ill, e.g. during the winter time you catch every cold that’s doing the rounds, probiotics could be just the ticket you’re looking for.
Of course, eating a healthy diet will also help, and if you can add in some foods which are naturally high in probiotic content, you will be giving your immune system a further boost. Yogurt is a very easy food to consume on a daily basis, and it is high in natural probiotics, provide the label says it contains ‘live and active cultures’. There are many other foods you can try and add in to your diet, e.g. miso, sauerkraut, pickles, traditional buttermilk, to name just a few.
How to Gain The Benefits of Probiotics
We just talked about eating a diet which is packed with high probiotic content foods, but not everyone finds this easy. For instance, if you can’t stand pickles, and yogurt isn’t something you really like, you’re going to struggle to get a high probiotic amount every day.
In this case, there are many probiotic supplements ideal for women on the market. According to Minority Health, Shopping around is key, because the supplement industry is not regulated, so you need to find the best strain and type of probiotic for your individual needs.
Before you start to take any supplements, always talk to your doctor first. This is also the best way to get reliable advice on the best strains to look for. Also remember to follow the instructions on the supplement packaging, as every product has different rules in terms of when to take the supplement, how many, how often, etc.
There are countless other benefits which are associated with probiotic use, e.g. weight loss and even a decrease in acne symptoms. Whilst there still needs to be a lot more research into the ins and outs of probiotic use, as well as the potential side effects, the benefits are certainly very real. For women in particular, being able to cut down on urinary tract and thrush infections is a big advantage. Gut health is of course the main benefit, which is available for men too, as well as that huge boost to the immune system.