WARNING: This is a post all about a female health topic.
My body is usually good to me but when the pregnancy hormones are raging it really throws me off. Then I have issues that every woman hates: vaginal imbalance. Bacterial infection, yeast infection, itching burning, YUCK! And I especially feel for the women who have chronic issues. But what’s a girl to do? The treatments are almost as bad as the infection. Applicators and creams that don’t always work. So this supplement review goes out to you ladies. (Does this sound like an infomercial yet? Well maybe, but I really do mean this!)
Alright, moving from infomercial mode this is what happened. I am pregnant with baby #5 and dealing with vaginal imbalance. I hate it! It only happens when I am pregnant and I was looking for any way to get out of the usual treatment methods. I ran across something about a probiotic and decided to check it out.
Jarrow Formulas Fem-Dophilus is a probiotic women’s supplement specifically targeted to vaginal imbalance. We have talked about the questions to ask when choosing a good supplement in a previous post, so I will go through those questions for this review.
- What is it and what are the health claims? Fem-Dophilus is a probiotic which means it contains beneficial bacteria similar to the good bacteria already in your body. The claims are for improving vaginal and urinary health.
- What is the research? For the two bacteria in the Fem-Dophilus probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus, GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri, RC-14) there have been multiple studies about the benefits. The studies show success in treating 37-90% of women with bacterial changes and a decrease in yeast.1,2,4 One study showed 88% of women were successfully treated with a combination of the probiotic and an antibiotic as opposed to only 40% of women just treated with the antibiotic.1 So the Fem-Dophilus can be used to treat vaginal imbalances alone or with an antibiotic or antifungal.
- Is it independently tested? Yes, the Fem-dophilus was tested as reliable by Consumerlabs.com for the amount of bacteria listed, purity of ingredients, and if they are packaged capsules will release at the right time.
- Are there side effects? Some of the research showed no side effect when using the probiotic.1 With all probiotics, you may experience gastric problems like bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc. If the the symptoms do not go away within a few days or a week, you should decrease your dose or stop taking it. It could interact with some medications and is not recommended for people with weak immune systems and some seniors.5
- Allergens: Dairy- some trace amounts of casein
- Dosage: 2x a day for treating issues like bacteria vaginosis or yeast infections. Once you have treated that, you can move to 1x a day for a “maintenance” dose, especially for women with recurring infections.
- Storage: Must stay refrigerated.
From my research, I decided to give Fem-Dophilus a shot. I consulted with my OB before taking it and she said it is the probiotic their office recommends especially for women with regularly recurrent or chronic problems. So another point in favor of the supplement.
I took the probiotic 2x a day for about a week and Voila! back to my normal self. I would consider my case to be mild so I cannot say it will only take a week for anyone else. But, needless to say, I was super impressed. I really REALLY hate those creams so a pill twice a day was awesome!
My Rating: A
Easy to use, did what it said, and quick acting. I personally did not suffer any side effects like gas and bloating. This is definitely on my list for approved supplements and I hope it can work for some of you as well that are frequently fighting this. Of course, I always suggest talking to a trusted medical professional before using a supplement.
Unfortunately, this is not a cure all. I think it is effective in helping to treat and prevent infections for many women but if you have recurrent yeast or bacterial infections that come from some underlying cause such as diet issues this supplement will only be a placeholder to help you as you try to get your body back in balance. So find some relief here but take the time to try to understand your underlying problem.
There is another product RepHresh Pro-B that has the same probiotic bacteria for vaginal imbalance and was tested by consumerlabs.com to be good quality. I have not personally tried it and I found it a bit more expensive then the Fem-Dophilus but I thought I would mention it.
If you have tried either of these supplements, I would love to hear some experiences in the comments!
- Reid G, et al. “Oral use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. fermentum RC-14 significantly alters vaginal flora: randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 64 healthy women.” FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2003 Mar 20; 35(2):131-4. (Read online here.)
- Petricevic L, et al. “Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of oral lactobacilli to improve the vaginal flora of postmenopausal women.” Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2008 Nov; 141(1):54-7. (Read online here.)
- Anukam K, et al. “Augmentation of antimicrobial metronidazole therapy of bacterial vaginosis with oral probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial.” Microbes Infect. 2006 May; v8(6):1450-4. (Read online here.)
- Anukam K, et al. “Clinical study comparing probiotic Lactobacillus GR-1 and RC-14 with metronidazole vaginal gel to treat symptomatic bacterial vaginosis.” Microbes Infect. 2006 Oct; 8(12-13):2772-6. (Read online here.)
- “Probiotics: What They Are and What They Can Do for You.” American Gastroenterological Association. May 2013. Web. 28 Jan 2015. (Read online here.)