The vicious cycle of UTIs, Yeast and other Vaginal Infections

What is the vaginal microbiome? 

We’ve all heard about our gut’s microbiome, but our vagina’s? You probably don’t even realize it, but it’s working overtime as your personal defensive armor against yeast infections, BV, UTIs and other things that make you feel…less than pleasant. Complex and dynamic, your vagina is host to millions of bacteria (Don’t worry—it’s perfectly natural, “good” bacteria!)

Vaginal Microbiome: your vagina’s defensive armor against infection

Believe it or not—that’s a good thing! Colonized predominantly with Lactobacillus, the beneficial bacteria feed off the sugar naturally present in the vagina. In return, they produce lactic acid in droves, helping your vagina sustain an ideal low pH— 3.8 – 4.5 according to medical experts. At this acidic pH, only certain types of bacteria and yeast can flourish—typically the “good” kind, like Lactobacilli. Rich in healthy bacteria, your vagina maintains harmonious balance. 

Falling out of balance

This delicate balance is easily disrupted by any number of factors. Sex, semen, menstruation, vaginal washes and wipes, certain medications, and even stress are common culprits. These triggers can raise pH levels creating an environment where non-beneficial bacteria and yeast can grow and flourish throwing off your vagina’s balance and making it susceptible to infection.  

Sex, semen, menstruation, vaginal washes and wipes, certain medications, and even stress can trigger a disruption to vaginal microflora.

Yeast Infections & Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) 

Yeast Infections

About 75% of women will experience at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime and almost half will have repeat infections.1 They occur with an overgrowth of candida, or yeast, in the vagina that’s typically kept in check by the “good” bacteria in healthy vaginal flora. 

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) 

Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15-44. In BV there is an overgrowth of certain bacteria causing an imbalance of the “good” and non-beneficial bacteria normally found in a woman’s vagina. 1

The Battle of Yeast and Bacteria 

Though separate conditions, the nature of yeast infections and BV can often lead to a seemingly never-ending cycle between the two. Typically, it goes something like this: 

  1. BV, a bacterial vaginal infection, is often treated with antibiotics. 
  2. The antibiotics kill off the infection…right along with all the “good” bacteria necessary for a healthy vaginal microbiome. 
  3. Without the “good” bacteria keeping balance in order, the yeast takes over triggering a yeast infection. 
  4. The yeast infection is treated, upsetting the vagina’s pH balance once again giving bacteria an opportunity for overgrowth. 
  5. And the cycle can continue until balance is restored. 

This phenomenon isn’t limited to BV and Yeast Infections. UTIs, another bacterial infection commonly treated with antibiotics, and yeast infections follow a similar pattern. 

Restore Balance with Probiotics for Vaginal Health*

Luckily, now you can be proactive with your vaginal health. Probiotics for vaginal health like AZO Complete Feminine BalanceTMDaily Probiotic is powered with INTELLIFLORATM, a clinically-proven blend of four probiotic species.* INTELLIFLORATM uses the species most commonly found in a healthy vagina to replenish and colonize your vagina’s microflora.* Taken regularly, the probiotics help restore and maintain your vagina’s pH at an optimal level for ongoing vaginal health.*

If you’re in the thick of a vaginal infection, AZO Yeast® Plus helps relieve the uncomfortable symptoms associated with vaginal and yeast infections.‡‡ Of course, you’ll want to visit your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment, but AZO Yeast® Plus can help you find relief in the meantime.

1CDC Website