The importance of Gut Health and the microbes in the gut are now understood to have a massive impact on the rest of our overall health. The understanding our gut microbiome in now in its adulthood. Whereas, the other microbial areas of our body like the vaginal, endometrial and urinary are more in its childhood, in terms of knowledge and research.
That said, like with Gut Health – the more we research and understanding of the vaginal microbiome the more important the health of the Vaginal Microbiome becomes. I predict that in 10-20 years vaginal testing with become more routinely used when supporting women in the preconception phase of life, until then it is usually the nutritional therapist, functional practitioner and some clinics who are ahead of the curve looking at the area of fertility.
Let’s start with the basics…what is the vaginal microbiome?
Ever orifice of our bodies, internally and externally is covered in microbes (bacteria, fungus and viruses). The vagina is no different – it is made up of a complex ecosystem of bacteria and fungi that lives in your vagina and impact our fertility and overall health (ideally in a beneficial way – although not always).
What Makes Up a Healthy Microbiome?
A healthy ecosystem is mainly dominated by a bacteria called Lactobacillus, which feeds off glycogen (which is a sugar) produced by vaginal wall cells. This then produces lactic acid, which creates a low pH environment that enables beneficial bacteria to thrive, limiting pathogenic (bad) strains of bacteria which can negatively impact your fertility.
Research has shown that the dominance of lactobacillus in the vaginal microbiome plays a vital role in fertility outcomes. Women with a dominant Lactobacillus vaginal microbiota (≥ 90%) have a higher success rate in both term pregnancy and live birth rate.
Signs your vaginal microbiome might need to be tested?
You are presenting with symptoms such as bacterial vaginosis, thrush or cystitis. You might be asymptomatic have suffered with recurrent implantation failure or miscarriage.
How can you improve you vaginal microbiome?
Often to improve the vaginal microbiome back into balance you need to work with the whole body, including: working on nutrient density, gut health, blood glucose, detox pathway and cellular hydration.
As well as working locally and more of a targeted approach with lactobacillus supplements, biofilm disruptors, maybe antibiotic and pessaries.
How can I test my vaginal Microbiome?
Test I use include: Invivo Vaginal EcologiX, Fertysis and EMMA and ALICE (Igenomix).