Everything you should know about the vaginal flora

Have you ever experienced a urinary tract infection or candidiasis? Have you noticed changes in the odor, colour or amount of your vaginal discharge? Have you experienced vaginal itching, irritation or pain during sexual intercourse? All these symptoms could indicate an imbalance in your vaginal microbiota. In this article, we will explain what it is and how to take care of it to keep your intimate health in optimal conditions.


What is the vaginal microbiota?

The vaginal microbiota, also known as vaginal flora, is composed of a set of microorganisms that live in the vagina, mainly lactobacilli (yes, the same bacteria found in yogurt!). These lactobacilli play a crucial role in vaginal protection:

  • They produce lactic acid, maintaining a low pH that preserves vaginal acidity.
  • They compete with fungi for nutrients, preventing their proliferation.
  • They block receptors in vaginal tissues for fungi.
  • They generate other substances such as interleukins, antimicrobials and surfactants, strengthening vaginal defenses.

In short, lactobacilli stimulate the production of an acidic vaginal mucus, maintaining an environment that makes it difficult for pathogens to settle.


Imbalance of the vaginal microbiota

When the amount of lactobacilli decreases, an imbalance in the vaginal microbiota occurs. This weakens the vaginal ecosystem, allowing pathogens such as those responsible for candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis or cystitis to become established, which can lead to serious problems for reproductive and general health.

Some causes that can trigger this imbalance include:

  • taking antibiotics
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • sexual activity
  • hormonal contraceptives
  • chronic stress
  • use of inappropriate cosmetic products
  • use of tight, non-breathable underwear
  • smoking
  • excessive or inadequate personal hygiene
  • hormonal changes (such as pregnancy or menopause during which the estrogen level changes causing changes in pH)
  • moisture in the vagina
  • an inadequate diet


How to take care of your vaginal microbiota?

To take care of your vaginal flora, it is essential, first of all, to consult a gynecologist or medical specialist in case of any irregularity.

In addition, here are some tips that can help you:

  • Wash your vagina only with water or with water and a pH-neutral soap, avoiding douching that can “sweep away” the natural lactobacilli.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear to allow adequate perspiration.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoiding smoking and foods rich in refined sugars, as the gut microbiota is linked to the vaginal microbiota, pathogens from the gut can easily travel to the vagina.
  • Drink enough water to maintain the quality of vaginal mucus and facilitate lubrication.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise and try to maintain a state of relaxation, stress alters the correct hormone levels and this in turn affects your vaginal health.

In addition, there are many foods that can support the health of your vaginal lactobacilli:

  • Food supplements: selection of probiotics and elements that strengthen the vaginal microbiota.
  • Natural yogurt, kefir and kombucha: contain lactobacilli naturally.
  • Lemon and grapefruit juice: promote an acid vaginal pH.
  • Cranberries and red fruits: antioxidants that regulate pH and eliminate toxins from the urinary system.
  • Soya: helps to maintain vaginal pH balance and lubricate the mucosa.
  • Garlic: with antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Quinoa, chia seeds, spinach and nuts: rich in nutrients and vitamin E that promote hydration and prevent infections.

Taking care of your vaginal microbiota is essential to keep not only your reproductive health, but your whole body healthy. Follow these tips and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you have any concerns your well-being deserves it!

We hope you found this article helpful!

Ciconea Team


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