Fertility Jewelry With Healing Stones

Fertility Jewelry With Healing Stones
Fertility Jewelry With Healing Stones

Sunday, January 27, 2019

PREGNANCY BLOOD PRESSURE: ASSOCIATED WITH BIRTH DEFECTS

Pregnancy Hypertension Complications

When I was pregnant, my blood pressure was monitored quite closely.
 Although older women tend to have problems with blood pressure in pregnancy, thankfully, min was normal.  As far as blood pressure medications, in the past, there were concerns that ACE inhibitors were associated with birth defects. However, this article also talks about how high blood pressure itself may also be a risk factor. Read more:

Researchers behind a new, larger study suggest it’s the high blood pressure itself that is responsible
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for the higher risk of birth defects, not the medications.

Compared to women without high blood pressure, those with the condition were more likely to have babies with congenital heart, brain or spinal-cord defects regardless of whether they were taking ACE inhibitors, other medications, or getting no treatment at all, the study found. The study was published online this week in the journal BMJ.

De-Kun Li and colleagues from Kaiser Permanente in California examined data covering more than 460,000 pregnant women and their babies from 1995 to 2008 for the study, which was paid for by groups including the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

from: 
theglobeandmail.com

DOES IVF CAUSE GENE MUTATIONS?

As time goes on, and more couples go through assisted reproduction, the scientific community is discovering that the fertility procedures themselves may put children at risk of genetic mutations.
 I know there are couples who have no choice but to go through assisted reproduction, however, it's important to go into any procedure knowing all possible outcomes. I was never informed of any risk of birth defects or pregnancy complications as a result of the actual fertility treatments (the only risk I was informed of was age related). It's possible these genetic risks were not known at the time I underwent treatment, but it makes me question whether or not couples really give informed consent.   Luckily, I did finally get pregnant naturally and I realize some couples must go through assisted reproduction, but it's important to know the risks.  Read more:


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The use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) or another assisted fertility technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to conceive appears to increase the odds of Y-chromosome defects or "microdeletions" in male offspring, Chinese researchers report.

Such deletions could result in defective sperm production and possibly also hypospadias -- a common birth defect of the penis that occurs when the urinary outlet develops on the underside of the penis rather than at the tip.

Although this study was small, it "at least sounds an alarm about the genetic safety of assisted reproductive technology," the investigators conclude.

Prior research has tied assisted reproductive technologies with low birth weight, preterm delivery, cerebral palsy, and major birth defects, leading some researchers to hypothesize that these therapies may induce gene mutations.

In the new study, Dr. He-Feng Huang, from Zhejiang University, and colleagues sought to answer this question by testing for genetic mutations in 19 male infants conceived through IVF, 18 conceived through ICSI, and 60 conceived naturally. The fathers of the infants were also tested. In an effort to isolate the impact of the fertility treatment, the researchers only studied infants whose parents had a normal genetic background.

Huang and colleagues found Y-chromosome microdeletions in one infant conceived with IVF (5.3 percent) and in three conceived with ICSI (16.7 percent). By contrast, no Y-chromosome deletions were seen in the control group.


From: 
dalje.com


Thursday, January 24, 2019

INFERTILITY AT OLDER AGES IS EXAGGERATED!

If you have been reading my blogs and website, you know that I constantly try to paint the REAL picture of how it is possible to get pregnant at older ages naturally.  I have been researching this for years and what I do know is that the media loves to present the "doom and gloom" picture rather than looking at the glass half full.  In the words of a a friend and science teacher:  "the glass is always half full"....of course she was talking about the other half being full of air, and I am talking about the media being full of HOT air!

I love this article that presents some widely reported statistics and how they scare women needlessly:
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The widely cited statistic that one in three women ages 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, for instance, is based on an article published in 2004 in the journal Human Reproduction. Rarely mentioned is the source of the data: French birth records from 1670 to 1830. The chance of remaining childless—30 percent—was also calculated based on historical populations.
In other words, millions of women are being told when to get pregnant based on statistics from a time before electricity, antibiotics, or fertility treatment. Most people assume these numbers are based on large, well-conducted studies of modern women, but they are not. When I mention this to friends and associates, by far the most common reaction is: “No … No way. Really?”
theatlantic.com

Saturday, January 19, 2019

ZINC FOR FERTILITY IN MEN AND WOMEN

Zinc in your supplements and diet may be critical for men and women who want to enhance their fertility.  In women, zinc helps to manufacture and balance reproductive hormones.  It also helps with protein metabolism and egg quality and maturation.  Once a women does get pregnant, zinc can help support a healthy pregnancy

In men, zinc can help with healthy sperm production and maturation and normal chromosome
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development.  Testosterone production is also helped by zinc.

Good sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, beef, chicken, pork and beans.
The flood of zinc appears to flip a switch so the egg can progress through the final stages of meiosis.(Meiosis is when the egg sheds all but one copy of its maternal chromosomes before it can be fertilized by a sperm and become an embryo.)... Zinc seems to be a key switch that helps control whether the egg moves forward in its development stage. ”

from:  futurity.org

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

FERTILITY SMOOTHIE RECIPE, EASY TO MAKE IN MINUTES

Fertility Smoothie Recipe

This smoothie recipe contains some powerful superfoods that can help your egg quality and fertility.  Here's the recipe (watch the video for instructions):
1 cup plain unsweetened greek yogurt (full fat dairy has been found in at least one study to be better for fertility)
1 cup water or milk
1 cup frozen berries and bananas
a few pieces of ice
2 packets of stevia (or a few squirts of liquid stevia)
Handful of raw (unroasted) almonds and walnuts (buy in the refrigerated section of healthfood store)

Blend in blender until desired consistency is reached (more ice will give it a sherbet consistency)
Watch video:





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Monday, January 14, 2019

HAVING A BABY, HOW OLD IS TOO OLD?

Are you Ever Too Old to Have A Baby?

I always hate when I see articles about being "too old to get pregnant".  First, let me say that I had my daughter with a natural conception and a totally normal delivery at the age of 44.  I had no complications and in my totally unbiased opinion, my daughter is perfect.
Second, let me say that I got pregnant again by surprise at the age of 49 (See: 49 and Pregnant) which I swear must have been the immaculate conception since we all had the flu immediately preceding my positive pregnancy test.  I miscarried very early, but it does go to show you that age is just a number and if you ovulate, you can still get pregnant.
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If a pregnancy happens naturally (which it does even in women over 50, then obviously your body doesn't think you're too old!)  If you ask your grandparents how old they were when they had their last child (or how old their acquaintances were when they had their last child), you'll most likely find
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that a high percentage of them were over the age of 40.  Before the days of reliable birth control, tubal ligations and vasectomies, families were large and it was nothing to see pregnant women well into their 40's.  Granted, it was their last child instead of their first, but they still had a baby!
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 If a pregnancy is achieved through IVF or donor eggs, then of course a women's health needs to be taken into account.   Who am I to say who can have a baby and at what age?  Now would I want a baby at the age of 60?  No, I wouldn't, but I can't tell you how many grandparents I've met who, for one reason or another, are raising their grandchildren.  Somehow they manage, and the ones I've seen do a pretty good job of it.  What about the argument that you won't be around to see your children grow up?  Well...statistically speaking, women who have their first child over the age of 40 are four times more likely to live to be 100!

So, all of the naysayers out there who think there's some type of cut off to have a baby, mind your own business!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

MY STORY OF INFERTILITY AND PREGNANCY AT AGE 44

Pregnancy Over 40, Get Pregnant Over 40 Naturally, Have A Baby Over 40

If you are over 40 and trying to conceive without success, or if you continually miscarry, you start to believe that a successful pregnancy over 40 is impossible. I’m here to tell you that it was possible for me - naturally.

In my late 30’s, after failing to conceive for over a year, I tried assisted reproductive technologies. I tried medications, inseminations, and IVF twice.

IVF Over The Age Of 40 Isn't Always Necessary

Even after investing so much emotion, time and money, tragically my IVF cycles and fertility
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treatments ended in miscarriage and the removal of one of my fallopian tubes. Fertility treatments left me physically, emotionally and financially drained, but I knew in my heart I could get pregnant and I knew I could do it naturally. Assisted Reproduction may be necessary for some women, but there are many, like me, who can and do conceive without fertility treatments. I’m also amazed by the number of women I meet undergoing the rigors of fertility treatment only to get pregnant naturally between treatment cycles!

This is my story of how I stopped viewing myself as a victim of infertility. I stopped asking “why me?” I realized that I was in total control of my body, my mind, and my ability to attract the things I wanted in my life.

I spent years reading and doing research on natural methods to enhance fertility. I wanted to get pregnant on my terms without relying on more costly consultations and treatments by paid professionals. My research led to a specific pregnancy protocol which prepared my body, changed my lifestyle, and cleared my mental roadblocks. Much has been written about how to get pregnant naturally, however, a great deal of it is contradictory, confusing and difficult to follow. I’ve weeded through the literature and I give you what turned out to be the winning formula for me - best of all, everything is inexpensive and can be done in the privacy of your own home. I got pregnant 4 times after embarking on my natural journey and as I got healthier and more hormonally balanced, I finally carried my last pregnancy to term without complications! I was 44 when I had my beautiful daughter who is perfect in every way.

Don’t let your age (or your doctors) discourage you from trying to get pregnant. You simply have to maximize your body’s readiness to take full advantage of every ovulatory cycle. Remember, I only had one fallopian tube, and I got pregnant 4 times over the age of 40 – just think what might have happened if I had both of my fallopian tubes!

Vanessa Cullins, vice president of medical affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, "It's very common that women don't realize they still need to worry about birth control even after they hit their 40s and move into their 50s." She added, "Until they complete menopause, which means going 12 months without menstruating, women should consider themselves to still be fertile" (Bennett, Wall Street Journal, 5/3).

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

ALKALINE OR ACIDIC FOODS FOR FERTILITY?

SHOULD YOU BE EATING ALKALINE OR ACIDIC FOODS TO GET PREGNANT?

Many of my readers have asked about the connection between fertility, cervical mucus and the type of foods that you should eat.  Fertility is enhanced by eating more alkaline type foods. Many women and couples have also heard that a more acidic environment will help them conceive a girl. There does not seem to be scientific proof of this, but proponents of this theory believe that sperm that determine a female gender are heartier than sperm that determine a male gender and more likely to survive in an acidic environment. However, most couples experiencing infertility would be elated with either gender and they want to do everything possible to make conception of either a boy or a girl possible. This article, although written from a body building standpoint, does a good job of explaining the difference between acidic and alkaline foods and gives examples of each.  Read more:

Alkaline Foods - Acid Foods - The 80/20 Acid Alkaline Ratio

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By Jamin Thompson
Many of us get so caught up in eating to look good that we often forget to stick to the basics and focus on our health. Without our health in line, we won't ever achieve that dream physique anyways so it is always best to focus on health first. Our typical mode of focusing on the outward physique and less on our insides tends to ruin most attempts for a stronger, leaner, healthier body. Out of all of
the processes essential to a head turning physique, a well functioning body is likely the most important and neglecting your health at the expense of a temporary gain is a recipe for sure failure. In order to keep your body functioning at its peak you must make sure that all of the processes involved aren't overloaded with toxins and overwhelmed by bad lifestyle choices. Most of us do not live the right way, we eat the wrong foods, we don't get enough sleep, we are stressed out, and we don't get enough fresh air. With all off the abuse we put our bodies through, we can't expect it to function how it's supposed to. It is funny how most of us get so frustrated when our bodies do not respond how we want them to when all we have to do is just listen to what the body needs. Similar to a high performance race car, the human body must be given the proper fuel, maintenance, and service in order to ensure high performance and longevity. If we take care of the body, the body will take care of the rest. Today I want to discuss the acid / alkaline balance and how maintaining the proper balance can help you improve your health, well being, and get leaner faster. First the basics. Water has a pH (measured according to the potential of hydrogen scale) of 7.0. This range is considered neutral, as water is neither alkaline or acid. Any substance with a pH greater than 7.0 is alkaline, and any substance with a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic. For a human to maintain a proper balance, it is best to shoot for a range between 6.0 and 6.8. The acid-alkaline balance of the blood must be stabilized via the food we eat and, as such, we must give the body a constant supply of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium because these important minerals help neutralize the acid wastes that accumulate when we consume proteins, sugars, and starches. Acid wastes can also be especially dangerous because they are believed to cause a variety of health problems and chronic diseases. If you have suffered with chronic symptoms such as water retention, migraines, low blood pressure, insomnia, sunken eyes, bad breath, tooth sensitivity to acidic fruits, and/or alternating diarrhea and constipation you may be suffering from acidosis. This term (acidosis) means that your body chemistry is likely imbalanced and overly acidic. Various changes within the body can also throw off the natural acid balance, which can cause an acidic surge in body fluids and cause metabolic acidosis. Various disorders and diseases like stomach ulcers, obesity, kidney disease, liver problems, anorexia, adrenal disorders, diabetes, and fever can rob the body of its natural alkaline base, but typically, a bad diet plays the key role in creating an acidic environment within the body. Note: Studies have shown that the over consumption of aspirin and vitamin C can also deplete the natural alkaline base.

Table 1.0 Alkaline Forming Foods

When training to build a great physique, we so often get caught up in eating proteins and trying to build lean muscle, that in the process we disrupt the natural acid/alkaline balance in the body and become overly acidic. It is hard to train and recover effectively when suffering with the annoying effects of acidosis. As I mentioned earlier, proteins are acid forming foods and we must eat alkaline forming foods to neutralize the acid wastes from protein consumption. This means that you should probably be eating a bunch more veggies with that chicken breast than you usually do. Finding a perfect balance can be challenging and confusing at first, but a good way to approach it is to try to maintain an 80% alkaline and 20% acid ratio. That means that in order to maintain a healthy, balanced pH, you need to eat a diet that consists of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods. Proteins and starches are acid, vegetables and fruits are alkaline. Just about all of the metabolic wastes of the body are acids so we need to eat alkaline forming foods like fruits and vegetables to help neutralize these acid wastes. Recent studies have shown that the average American diet only consists of about 15-20% fruits and vegetables. This means that most people in this country are getting the majority of their calories from acid forming foods. In light of the current health crisis in America, I think that it is safe to say that there is a strong correlation between acidosis and disease. For optimal health, fruits and vegetables should make up 80% of your diet. Starches and proteins should make up the last 20%. This guarantees your diet will be 80% alkaline and 20% acid. Here is a list that outlines the foods that are alkaline and the foods that are acid.

---Vegetables---

* Artichokes
* Broccoli
* Cabbage
* Cauliflower
* Celery
* Cucumber
* Green Beans
* Kudzu
* Lettuce
* Mushrooms
* Onion
* Radish
* Rutabagas
* Sprouts
* Spinach
* Watercress
---Fruits---

* Avocado
* Banana
* Coconut
* Grapefruit
* Lemon
* Tomato
* Watermelon
---Nuts---

* Almonds
* Pumpkin
* Sunflower
* Sesame
---Fats & Oils---

* Avocado
* Borage
* Evening Primrose
* Flax
* Hemp
* Olive
Table 2.0 Acid Forming Foods
* Alcohol
* Aspirin & most drugs
* Asparagus
* Beans
* Brussels Sprouts
* Catsup
* Cocoa
* Coffee
* Cornstarch
* Cranberries
* Eggs
* Flour based products
* Most meats
* Milk
* Mustard
* Olives
* Pasta
* Pepper
* Sauerkraut
* Shellfish
* Soda, soft drinks
* Sugar
* Tobacco
* Vinegar


Now, just because a particular food is acid forming does not mean that you should completely eliminate it from your diet or avoid it for an extended period of time. It just means that you shouldn't over do it, and that you should only choose about 20% of your foods from the acid forming foods list. Many foods that are acid are, in fact, quite good for you with the exception of a few. So in closing, try as hard as you can to stick to the 80/20 rule. Your health and physique will greatly improve as a result. Train hard and expect success. Jamin Thompson is the author of the best selling six pack abs e-book, The 6 Pack Secret: Fat Burning Secrets of The World's Top Fitness Models. He gives men and women from all over the world unique and little known secrets for six pack abs without using bogus supplements, gimmicks, or crash dieting at http://www.the6packsecret.com Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jamin_Thompson http://EzineArticles.com/?Alkaline-Foods---Acid-Foods---The-80/20-Acid-Alkaline-Ratio&id=3731782


Tuesday, January 01, 2019

PROBIOTICS CAN HELP YOU CREATE SPERM FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT FOR CONCEPTION

PROBIOTICS FOR VAGINAL HEALTH AND FERTILITY

What exactly are probiotics and how can they help you get pregnant? Most of us think that bacteria are bad, but many bacteria and yeasts are actually good for your digestive system. The term probiotics refers to the good or helpful bacteria. The medical profession is really trying to cut down on the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics not only kill off bad bacteria, but they can also kill off helpful bacteria (not to mention encouraging the growth of so called "superbugs" that can be deadly. What are good sources of probiotics? This guest post from Brad Douglas can help answer some of those questions:
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Urogenital Probiotics For Women
Guest Post By Brad Douglass
Probiotics are useful for more than just gastrointestinal health. In fact, there are specific probiotic products that can help prevent and treat female urogenital conditions like bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, urinary tract infections and related complications of all three.
This should not come as a huge surprise. The amount of good research being conducted on gastrointestinal probiotics continues to increase every year. And although the vaginal tract is not internally connected to the alimentary canal the two are intimately related. Bacteria that pass through
the digestive system can ascend via the perineum to the vagina. So it's almost a no-brainer to expect what promotes gastrointestinal health to have relevance for urogenital health. However, they are not the same. Even though the intestinal microbiota has similarities to the vaginal microbiota, simply taking care of the intestinal microbiota may not be enough to ensure urogenital health.
Vaginal Microbiota: What Is It?
The microbiota typically found in the vagina consists of large numbers of lactobacilli (gram-positive rods) and small numbers of gram-negative rods and gram-positive coccobacilli. A milliliter of vaginal fluid contains, on average, around 100 million microorganisms from 5-10 species, 95% of which are from the genus Lactobacillus (Anukam, 2006).
The bacteria that live in the vagina are substantially similar in all women around the globe. This is indicative of a relationship that was established long ago and which has remained robust over time. From an evolutionary perspective, such a trend suggests an adaptive advantage for both bacteria and humans. But why? A simple answer is that certain bacteria get a warm, moist place to live and in exchange, protect the vagina and help inhibit the growth of pathogens.
Health From The Few
It has been a long held belief that lactobacilli, in bulk, promote vaginal health by helping to maintain an acidic pH in the vagina. The logic seems sound: increased vaginal pH and decreased numbers of lactobacilli are symptomatic of various infections ergo lactic acid producing lactobacilli likely prevent infection by maintaining a low vaginal pH. This rationale has led to recommending the consumption of yogurt with the expectation that the lactobacilli, particularly L. acidophilus, and other "active cultures" should promote vaginal health.Poking under the hood of this theory led to some interesting observations. Researchers discovered that the interaction of microorganisms in the vagina is more complex than simple pH modulation. The watershed: finding healthy women who appeared to lack colonization by lactobacilli. If large numbers of lactobacilli were necessary to regulate vaginal pH in most women, how could these exceptions be reconciled? It turns out that these women did not lack lactobacilli, they were merely present as an extremely small minority. But the fact that they existed in such small quantities suggested that there were mechanisms of vaginal health more potent than simple lactic acid production.
Lactic acid production was not found to be unimportant; rather something akin to a urogenital 90:10 rule had been identified. Most lactobacillus strains produce lactic acid, but only some strains produce bacteriocins and other specific regulating factors that inhibit the adhesion, colonization, growth and survival of undesirable species. Such specific factors can have prominent effects even at very low concentrations. And the strains that produce them can be present in minuscule amounts, but still have a large effect on urogenital health. Those healthy women with very few lactobacilli helped elucidate this.
Bacterial Vaginosis: Under the Radar
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection and is believed to be a problem for roughly 10-29% of the female population at any given time (Allsworth, 2007; Reid and Heinemenn, 1998). It is important to be aware that lactobacilli levels tend to track estrogen levels. This means that even for women that feel healthy, there can be an increased risk of infection when estrogen levels are low, like at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle, or after undergoing menopause.
BV is estimated to burden the health care system to the tune of more than 4 million office visits per year in the U.S. alone (Van Kessel, 2003). Yet despite these numbers, it is believed that many cases of BV still go untreated or mistreated.BV can be one problem that arises when the vaginal microbiota becomes unbalanced. BV is characterized by a shift in the vaginal microbiota from predominantly commensal microorganisms like lactobacilli, to others such as species in the genera Gardnerella, Atopobium and Prevotella. Some of these organisms produce amines that raise the pH in the vagina and cause a "fishy" smell. Clinically, the Amsel criteria or Nugent scoring is used to diagnose BV.
The symptoms of BV are somewhat similar to those of a yeast infection, of which more women are aware. Since these symptoms tend to be a sensitive topic and because over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments are readily available, many women attempt to treat BV with anti-yeast remedies. Unfortunately, anti-fungal treatments do not help treat BV and can even make it worse.
Ounce of Prevention
Although not internally connected, bacteria that pass through the alimentary canal can ascend to the vagina over the short external distance of the perineum. This is entirely normal and not an issue of poor hygiene. In fact, this is the typical route to the vagina for most inhabitants. Knowing this, it stands to reason that a healthy urogenital environment can begin with a healthy digestive tract.
Beneficial intestinal microbiota, are more apt to flourish when exposed to a diet high in fiber (especially prebiotic fibers) and low in simple sugars and refined carbohydrates. Pathogenic bacteria tend to proliferate at a greater rate than probiotic bacteria when exposed to these hallmarks of a diet high in processed foods. The healthier the intestinal microbiota is, the lower the concentration of disruptive organisms that pass from the digestive tract to the vagina. Eating yogurt with live active cultures may help, although the clinical evidence to support this is somewhat equivocal. Digestive health may be better served by taking a probiotic product or supplement that contains multiple strains which are clinically documented to support health.
Women can also act preventatively against BV with probiotic products that have been specifically evaluated for vaginal health and found to promote healthy vaginal microbiota. An ideal choice would be a strain that was originally isolated from a healthy woman and is well characterized to act against vaginal offenders. There are very few products on the market made with probiotic strains that actually meet this standard. Two strains that do are Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Used together, L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 have been shown to promote healthy vaginal microbiota which is important in helping prevent BV (see "Research Review").
BV Treatment & Probiotics
Standard treatment for bacterial vaginosis involves antibiotic therapy, either orally administered or locally applied. The oral route typically involves daily ingestion of metronidazole or clindamycin for one week. Locally, a metronidazole gel or 2% clindamycin cream may also be prescribed for a similar duration. Some reports find that using clindamycin leads to a greater rate of recurrence than metronidazole. In addition, local use of clindamycin is contraindicated for pregnant women because of a possible connection to birth defects. Regardless of which antibiotic option is used, statistics show that roughly 30% of BV infections recur within one month and approximately 80% within 9 months.
Increasing numbers of physicians are recommending that their patients follow a regimen of antibiotics with a course of probiotics for gastrointestinal health, to bolster beneficial bacteria that have been killed off. The same advice applies to urogenital probiotics. The vaginal microbiota is just as susceptible to broad-spectrum antibiotics as the intestinal microbiota. And although there is not any solid evidence to suggest probiotics alone are effective as treatment for an existing infection, probiotic supplementation can provide dividends before, during and after antibiotic treatment. As summarized in the "Research Review," some probiotic strains can even improve the effectiveness of BV treatment with antibiotics.
Secondary Effects of BV: Preterm Labor & STI Acquisition Risk
Awareness about BV is particularly important because it can cause health concerns that are more serious than the immediate symptoms that women tend to notice: irritation, decreased well-being, and diminished sexual health. BV can lead to local inflammation, increased susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections and a heightened risk of preterm labor in pregnant women.
In the U.S. 7-10% of all babies are delivered preterm, while it is estimated that women threatening preterm labor cost the U.S. healthcare system $360 M annually. The total number of preterm deliveries has actually risen in the U.S. over the past ten years, as well. This is a bit troubling, although not incredible. Pregnant women are increasingly being given antibiotics to fend off group B streptococci found in their vaginas and also as a precautionary measure when the amniotic sac ruptures prematurely. Increased antibiotic use on average means more frequent assaults on the vaginal microbiota of pregnant women leading to a greater overall risk of BV.
Despite medical science not having a good grasp of what causes preterm labor, it has been known for some time that there is a correlation between the incidence of BV in an expectant mother and preterm delivery (Chaim, 1997; Hillier, 1992; Purwar, 2001). As mentioned above, antibiotics used to treat BV or other conditions can cause complications during pregnancy and disrupt the microbiota of the mother. Disruption of the microbiota is a concern because transmission of endogenous bacteria from mother to newborn occurs during birth and shortly thereafter, helping to establish the newborns own microbiota and immune system. Because of this association, the use of antibiotics to treat pregnant women has drawbacks. It has previously been hypothesized that probiotic therapy could help eliminate the conditions that cause preterm labor and hence avoid preterm labor itself (Reid, AJOG, 2003). Some preliminary research suggests that urogenital probiotics can help diminish the risk of preterm labor (see "Research Review").
Sexually Transmitted Infections
The incidence of BV has also been associated with a greater occurrence of sexually transmitted infections like HIV (Anukam, Sex Transm Dis, 2006; Sewankambo, 1997), cytomegalovirus (Ross, 2005), chlamydia (Nilsson, 1997; Joesoef, 1996), gonorrhea (Joesoef, 1996) and pelvic inflammatory disease (Brotman, 2007). For the most part, the connection between BV and increased risk of STI remains a question of causation or correlation. Research continues into understanding the mechanisms of BV and STI acquisition and the connection between the two.
Vulvovaginal Candidiasis: Bacteria v. Yeast
More commonly known as yeast vaginitis or colloquially as a "yeast infection," about 75% of women have an occurrence of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) in their lifetime. Recurring problems of the bacterial microbiota, like BV, can make VVC more common, recurrences more likely, and outbreaks more difficult to treat. Standard prescription treatment includes oral antimycotics like fluconazole used daily for two weeks. Local antifungal creams and pessaries are common by prescription or available over-the-counter. Topical treatments have a tendency to eliminate superficial parts without reaching embedded parts of the causative organisms. VVC treatment can also inhibit the growth of endogenous lactobacilli present in the vagina.
VVC results from an over proliferation of Candida species (Candida albicans accounts for 85-90% of infections), a group of organisms that are commonly present in the vagina at low levels. A Candida bloom often causes increased inflammation of the vaginal mucosa and can lead to vaginal discharge and irritation. VVC is often characterized by a thick, whitish and non-uniform discharge that does not typically possess a "fishy" odor. Irritation during sexual intercourse and itchiness/inflammation of the vagina and surrounding area is common. Clinically, microscopic examination of a vaginal smear after treatment with 10% KOH can allow visualization of Candida hyphae.
A healthy urogenital microbiota decreases the risk of VVC. As discussed previously, there are some steps women can take to promote a healthy urogenital microbiota including taking targeted probiotic strains. Prophylactic probiotic use is one way to support a healthy microbiota and inhibit the uncontrolled growth of Candida yeasts (Reid, 2003, FEMS). No probiotic studies to date have shown efficacy in treating an existing infection alone, but there have been some preliminary results that suggest standard antifungal treatment in combination with a L. rhamnosus GR-1/L. reuteri RC-14 probiotic resulted in significantly less symptoms of yeast infection as compared to standard treatment alone (see "Research Review").
Bacteria Out of Place
It is estimated that 25-30% of women between the ages of 20 and 40 have had at least one urinary tract infection (UTI). In 85% of cases, the bacteria responsible for a UTI originate in one's own intestine or vagina. Recurrent infections are common. Nearly 20% of women who have one UTI will have another.
UTI can be another casualty of an unhealthy urogenital microbiota. A UTI is a bacterial infection of the urinary system including the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urethra. Urinary tract infections are one of the most common causes of doctor visits for women. UTI usually presents with a frequent need to urinate along with a burning sensation upon urination. Urine can appear cloudy or off-smelling. Pain, tenderness and pressure near the bladder are also common. Typical clinical evaluation involves urinanalysis to detect nitrites, leukocytes and leukocyte esterase.
Standard treatment for UTI involves a regimen of oral antibiotics for 7 days, typically trimethoprim or co-trimoxazole. Recurrences may be an indication of cystitis, where bacteria invade the umbrella cells making innate immune factors and antibiotics less effective. A healthy urogenital microbiota decreases the risk of urinary tract infections. A urogenital probiotic can be used while undergoing treatment with antibiotics to hasten recovery, to decrease side effects, and to begin establishing beneficial vaginal microbiota that will help guard against recurrence.
Overall, the message that needs to be reiterated to patients is that urogenital health is not about the absence of bacteria, but rather the proper balance. Probiotic strains that have been clinically tested for their efficacy in supporting urogenital health are an excellent option for promoting a balanced urogenital microbiota and preventing infection. Prevention deserves serious consideration as the treatment options for vaginal infections can sometimes be of limited efficacy, especially for recurring infections. Urogenital probiotic strains can also be a helpful adjuvant to standard treatment in many cases, helping mitigate side effects and in some cases bolstering treatment efficacy. Urogenital problems plague many women and cause much concern; women are often very relieved to learn that there is more they could be doing. Tell them.
Urogenital Probiotics: A Research Review
Effects on Urogenital Microbiota
Forty-two clinically healthy women were randomized into three treatment groups and one control group. The treatment groups received various oral dosage regimens of a L. rhamnosus GR-1/L. reuteri RC-14 (GR-1/RC-14) probiotic supplement and the control group received L. rhamnosus GG every day for twenty-eight days. All three treatment groups saw a significant increase in healthy vaginal microbiota, while the control group remained the same. The twice-daily treatment group accrued the most beneficial effects with 90% of patients retaining a normal vaginal microbiota two weeks after treatment. The study suggests that a daily dosage of about 1 billion (109) live GR-1/RC-14 organisms is adequate as a preventative regimen (Reid, 2001, FEMS).
Lactobacilli, Yeasts & Coliforms
Sixty-four clinically healthy women were randomized into two groups. The treatment group received a once-daily oral GR-1/RC-14 supplement while the control group received a capsule containing calcium carbonate for sixty days. Microscopy analysis on day 28 found that the treatment group had an almost 10-fold increase in lactobacilli over baseline and a significantly smaller increase of yeast and coliforms compared to placebo. In contrast, the placebo group showed decreased counts of lactobacilli and larger increases in yeast and coliforms (Reid, 2003, FEMS).

Bacterial Vaginosis Prevention
In the previous study, Nugent scoring by a blinded technician was used to assess the prevention of BV. The GR-1/RC-14 group fared much better than did the control group. Of those possessing a healthy vaginal microbiota at the outset, 24% (6/25) of the women in the placebo group developed BV by day thirty-five of the study compared to 0% (0/23) in the treatment group (Reid, 2003, FEMS).
BV Treatment in Combination with Antibiotics
Following BV infection, combination treatment using GR-1/RC-14 (1 capsule, 10 billion CFUs, b.i.d.) with metronidazole (500 mg, oral, b.i.d.) more than doubled (88%) the effectiveness of metronidazole alone (40%) in returning the vaginal microbiota to a healthy state. Of the remaining 12% of patients in the treatment group whose microbiota were not judged to be healthy at follow-up, all were found to have an intermediate status with zero cases of BV (Anukam, 2006).
Preterm Labor
Thirty pregnant women, who were diagnosed with BV and identified clinically as being at high risk of preterm delivery, were randomized into two groups. The treatment group was given a once-daily oral GR-1/RC-14 capsule for 15 days. The control group was not given any type of lactobacilli, but was monitored according to the clinical standard. Upon follow-up one month later, the treatment group showed much better vaginal health with decreased indicators of BV. But more importantly, 100% of the mothers in the treatment group, as opposed to 67% of the control group, delivered at term. No adverse events were reported (Dobrokhotova, 2007).
Vulvovaginal Candidiasis
Sixty-eight women who were positive for VVC were randomized into two groups and blinded. The treatment group received fluconazole (150 mg) plus 2 gelatin capsules of GR-1/RC-14 (10 billion organisms) once-daily for 28 days. The control group received fluconazole (150 mg) plus a placebo at the same schedule. After 28 days, the treatment group showed more than a three-fold decrease in both yeast levels and vaginal discharge compared to the control group (Martinez, 2009).
Urinary Tract Infections
One study sought to compare the recurrence rate of UTI in women treated with either standard 3-day antibiotic therapy alone or along with a GR-1 combination probiotic. First, either norfloxacin or co-trimoxazole was prescribed to the 41 women in this study. The norfloxacin group had a recurrence rate of 29% while the co-trimoxazole group recurred at a rate of 41%. Afterward all women were then randomized into two groups and administered a GR-1 combination product or sterilized skim milk as a pessary. These vaginal suppositories were given twice a week for two weeks, with two additional instillations at 4 weeks and 8 weeks. The GR-1 group had a recurrence rate of 21% over the ensuing 6 months, while the skim milk group showed a 47% incidence of recurrence (Reid, 1992).
In another randomized, double-blind study, recurrence rates of UTI were again the primary endpoint. A weekly GR-1 combination probiotic (10 billion CFUs) was given as a pessary for one year. This resulted in a decreased UTI occurrence rate from 6 per year, for these patients in the year prior to the study, to only 1.6 per year during the study (Reid, 1995).
References
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Anukam KC et al. (2006) 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 and Infection, 8: 1450-1454.
Anukam KC et al. (2006) Lactobacillus vaginal microbiota of women attending a reproductive health care service in Benin city, Nigeria. Sex Transm Dis. Jan;33(1):59-62.
Brotman RM et al. (2007) Findings associated with recurrence of bacterial vaginosis among adolescents attending sexually transmitted diseases clinics. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. Aug;20(4):225-31.
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Dobrokhotova YE and Sci M. (2007) Modern approaches to the treatment of vaginal dysbiosis in pregnant of high risk groups. All-Russian Scientific Forum: Mother and Baby. October 2, 2007.
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Martinez RC et al. (2009). Improved treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with fluconazole plus probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Lett Appl Microbiol Mar;48(3):269-74.
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Reid G, et al. (2003) 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 Immunology and Medical Microbiology 35: 131-134.
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Reid G, et al. (2001) Probiotic Lactobacillus dose required to restore and maintain a normal vaginal flora. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 32: 37-41.
Reid G, Heinemann C: The role of the microflora in bacterial vaginosis. In: Medical Importance of the Normal Microflora (Tannock GW, ed.), Kluwer, London, 1998, pp. 477-486.
Reid G, Bruce AW, Taylor M. (1995) Instillation of Lactobacillus and stimulation of indigenous organisms to prevent recurrence of urinary tract infections. Microecology Therapy;23:32-45.
Reid G et al. (1992) Influence of three-day antimicrobial therapy and Lactobacillus vaginal suppositories on recurrence of urinary tract infections. Clin Ther; 14 (1): 11-16.
Ross SA, et al. (2005) Association between genital tract cytomegalovirus infection and bacterial vaginosis. J Infect Dis. Nov 15;192(10):1727-30.
Sewankambo N et al. (1997) HIV-1 infection associated with abnormal vaginal flora morphology and bacterial vaginosis. Lancet 350:546-550.
Van Kessel K, Assefi N, Marrazzo J, Eckert L (2003) Common complementary and alternative therapies for yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis: a systematic review. Obstet Gynecol Surv 58:351-358.
Brad Douglass, Ph.D is the Education Manager for Jarrow Formulas. He obtained his Ph.D from USC in Organic Chemistry where his research efforts concentrated on drug discovery. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at USC where he investigated novel blood-brain barrier transport methods for use in drug delivery to the brain.

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