What are friendly bacteria for women?Friendly bacteria for women help to support the vaginal flora, even when taken orally(1). A healthy vagina typically contains Lactobacilli bacteria which produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. These substances help to keep the all-important pH balance in the vagina at an optimum pH of 4.5 (slightly acidic). Women’s friendly bacteria supplements are for anyone who feels they can benefit. Several strains, such as Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14®* and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1®*, and Lactobacillus paracasei F-19®, survive to reach the vaginal flora and prefer to colonise there. They are regarded as specific vaginal friendly bacteria and can be found in the Optibac Probiotics For Women supplement.

Can men and children also take For Women?Yes, For Women is suitable for all genders and for children from 4 years onwards. This supplement contains vaginal live cultures which are designed to complement the natural vaginal flora and whilst called For Women, we acknowledge it may also be appropriate and helpful for cis women, trans men, or non-binary people. We have heard anecdotal situations where men have taken For Women as part of a supplement protocol and seen a benefit. Please contact us if unsure which supplement to take – we’re here to help!

How do I choose the best friendly bacteria for women?The best women’s live cultures supplements contain friendly bacteria specifically researched in women, with the same billions count used in supporting research studies. Optibac Probiotics For Women strains were used in gold standard clinical trials (1, 2,3) at the same strength of 2.5 billion live cultures per capsule daily.

References(1). Martinez RCR, Franceschini SA, Patta MC, et al. Improved treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with flXXXXXXole plus probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2009;48(3):269-274. doi:10.1111/j.1472-765X.2008.02477.x (2). Martinez RCR, Franceschini SA, Patta MC, et al. Improved cure of bacterial vaginosis with single dose of tiXXXXXole (2 g), Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Can J Microbiol. 2009;55(2):133-138. doi:10.1139/W08-102 (3). Beerepoot MAJ, Ter Riet G, Nys S, et al. Lactobacilli vs antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections: A randomized, double-blind, noninferiority trial in postmenopausal women. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(9):704-712. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.777

Are these supplements suitable to take daily and ongoing?This depends on individual preference. Some women take a seven-day intensive course when needed, but most women feel more confident when taking vaginal live cultures daily. Optibac Probiotics For Women comes in three sizes: 7 days, 30 days, and 90 days, but is designed for long-term daily use. Take with food, ideally breakfast, when stomach acidity is closer to neutral.

How long does it take for women’s live cultures to work?Taken orally, vaginal live cultures, such as those in Optibac Probiotics For Women, are proven to reach the vagina alive in 3-4 days and to colonise in the vaginal flora in one week. Once there, what do women’s live cultures do for women? Lactobacilli bacteria in the vaginal flora produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which help to keep the all-important pH balance in the vagina at an optimum pH of 4.5 (slightly acidic).(1,2).

References(1). Anukam K.C. et al., (2006), ‘Augmentation of antimicrobial met*******ole therapy of bacterial vaginosis with oral probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial’. Microbes Infect. 8(6): 1450-4. (2). Morelli L, Zonenenschain D, Del Piano M, Cognein P. Utilization of the intestinal tract as a delivery system for urogenital probiotics. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2004;38(6 Suppl). doi:10.1097/01.mcg.0000128938.32835.98

When is the best time to take friendly bacteria for women?It’s best to take your women’s probiotic supplement at breakfast time, as this is when stomach acidity is at its most neutral. Taking it with food further helps to buffer the acid and assist the passage of the live cultures into the gut and on to the vagina. If you forget to take them with breakfast, just take with another meal or snack.

Is For Women safe to take during pregnancy, with HRT, or other medications and supplements?It is perfectly safe to take Optibac For Women during pregnancy; however, pregnant women may prefer to consider a supplement designed for pregnancy, such as Optibac Pregnancy, which contains live cultures specifically researched in pregnant women. Vaginal friendly bacteria supplements are also safe to alongside other supplements and medications, such as HRT and the oral contraceptive pill.

Do the vaginal live cultures in For Women work for gut health too?The live cultures in Optibac For Women prefer to live in the vaginal flora, but other friendly bacteria strains prefer to live in the gut. This is why many people choose to take a digestive supplement, such as Optibac Every Day, alongside their vaginal live cultures so that they have all-round support for their gut and vaginal flora.