The amount of microorganisms that reside in and on our body strongly outnumbers the amount of our ‘own’ human cells. New insights show that our microbial communities are very individual, like a fingerprint. We cannot live without them as they take care of some very important functions in our digestive tract and for acidification of the skin and vagina. Ideally we live in harmony with our microbiota. The balance in this ecosystem keeps harmful bacteria in control.
In the vagina, the useful bacteria are the lactic acid producing lactobacilli that keep most unwanted bacteria and other microorganisms like yeasts at bay. Disruption of the vaginal microbial balance is often noticed by a change in the discharge and symptoms like itch, malodor or burning. Best known is the condition of overgrowth of anearobic bacteria called bacterial vaginosis (BV) which is accompanied by the fishy odour that is caused by the amines that are produced by these bacteria. (Pinkster 1998). External factors for this disruption are hygiene and coitus. After coitus the pH of the vagina increases significantly from acidic to slightly alkaline. (Tevi-Benissan 1997). In this alkaline environment BV flora – which thrive at an elevated pH- may increase explosively with a growth peak at some 36 hours after the “alkaline shock” of the sperm.
The composition of the vaginal microbiota is highly dynamic and changes in reaction to hormonal fluctuations, and external factors like sexual activity and vaginal hygiene. In case of dysbiosis, the beneficial lactobacilli are outnumbered by harmful microbes such as the BV flora or yeast cells. Such dysbiosis is often accompanied by vaginal discomforts such as itch, malodor, abnormal discharge and pain. For both bacterial vaginosis and vaginal candida problems the standard medical treatment is prescription of antimicrobial drugs. Antibiotics and antimycotics can however severely affect the composition of the microbiota and also disrupt the beneficial microorganisms. In addition, these strategies are often only effective on the short term, as both for metronidazole treatment of BV and antimycotic treatment (e.g. clotrimazole) of candidiasis very high frequencies of recurring infections are reported. New approaches that correct the vaginal dysbiosis have become available in recent years. These strategies include the use of acidic gels, prebiotic stimulation of vaginal lactobacilli and natural anti-adhesive strategies that prevent harmful microorganisms from colonizing our body surfaces . Anti-adhesive strategies based on natural products are the innovative, patented basis of the Multi-Gyn product line and are combined with other functional components such as acidic and prebiotic ingredients to prevent and treat vaginal infections and related discomforts.
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