According to the CDC, BV (bacterial vaginosis) is the most common cause of vaginal symptoms among women. The prevalence of BV among women in the US is estimated to be 21.2 million or 29.2% among women between the ages of 14-49, but some studies show even higher percentages which could be due to the fact that around 84% of women with BV don’t report any symptoms.
The bottom line is that BV is prevalent, and when left untreated, it can start to cause some life-interfering symptoms that aren’t pleasant, to say the least. As a woman’s health advocate and nutritionist, I am always seeking ways to optimize not only my own health and wellness but the health and wellness of others. One common theme that keeps recurring in our community is struggling relating to vaginal health, in particular, BV.
Thankfully, there’s some emerging evidence that shows that taking a vaginal probiotic can help to reduce and eliminate the occurrence of BV in women. This article will focus on helping you to discover the best BV probiotics so that you can begin a treatment and/or prevention regime that’s safe, natural, and effective.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis, or BV for short, is a type of vaginal inflammation that’s caused by the overgrowth of the bacteria that’s naturally found in the vagina. When this overgrowth occurs, it upsets that natural balance and can cause a myriad of uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms.
Women who are in their reproductive years are the most likely to experience BV, but it can affect women of all ages. While there is not one true cause that can be pinpointed, strong evidence shows that certain activities like unprotected sex and frequent douching can increase your risk of developing it.
What Are The Symptoms?
Let’s be honest, any time we have something going on downstairs is cause for concern, but sometimes we don’t know what to look for or what is going on. The following symptoms are strong indicators of BV:
- Thin, gray, white, or green vaginal discharge
- Foul or “fishy” smelling vaginal odor
- Vaginal itching
- Burning sensation during urination
Keep in mind that BV will present differently in each individual woman and that many women can have BV but not experience or recognize any of the signs and symptoms.
What’s Causing It?
While researchers haven’t been able to definitively pinpoint one exact cause of BV, there are several risk factors that appear to play a role in the disruption of your vaginal microbiome, including:
Having multiple or a new sexual partner. There’s no clear scientific connection between sex and BV, however, research shows that women who have more than one sexual partner or who have a new sex partner experience more frequent bouts of BV than others.
Douching, or the practice of rinsing out your vagina with water and/or a cleansing agent. This can lead to an imbalance of your natural vaginal microbiome, causing an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria. The vagina is actually self-cleansing, so douching is not needed.
Lack of lactobacilli bacteria. Sometimes, the natural vaginal microbiome doesn’t produce enough good bacteria, which leads to a propensity to develop BV.
What Happens If You Don’t Treat It?
Failure to treat your BV can lead to some complications, including:
Preterm birth. Pregnant women with untreated BV can sometimes experience premature deliveries and babies with low birth weights.
STIs (sexually transmitted infections). With bacterial vaginosis, your chances of contracting an STI is increased. Infections such as HIV, herpes, chlamydia, or gonorrhea are common among those with BV and those who have sex with a woman who has BV.
Increased risk of infection after gynecologic surgery. For women who undergo a gynecologic surgery such as a dilation and curettage (D&C) or a hysterectomy, their chances of experiencing an infection are greater when they have BV.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID is an infection of the uterus and the fallopian tubes that can increase the risk of infertility. Women with BV are at higher risk for developing PID.
Can Probiotics Help Treat BV?
Yes, many studies have shown that both oral and vaginal probiotics can effectively treat and prevent recurrent bacterial vaginosis. For some women, a dose of antibiotics might be needed first to eliminate the infection, but follow-up and continued treatment with a vaginal-specific probiotic might help to prevent any recurrences.
Next, let’s take a look at the best BV probiotics on the market right now so that you can find one that aligns with your specific needs.
Top BV Probiotics
Below are our top picks for the best probiotics for BV available right now.
URO Vaginal Probiotics from OPositiv was formulated to bring proactive relief from vaginal itching, dryness, and odor related to common health issues like BV and yeast infections. Taking URO can help you to build up your natural vaginal defenses and prevent unwanted, uncomfortable, and embarrassing symptoms from arising.
URO’s V-Positiv Probiotic Blend contains 4 powerful strains with 5 billion CFUs for enhanced protection, here’s a breakdown of key ingredients:
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus - Helps target vaginal inflammation and digestive issues
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus - Promotes balance in the vagina and gastrointestinal tract
- Lactobacillus Reuteri - Has antimicrobial, immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties
- Lactobacillus Fermentum - Has immune-boosting, antimicrobial and cholesterol-lowering properties
Plus, this uniquely-formulated blend contains XOS Prebiotics to fuel and nourish the probiotics, keeping them active for longer.
- Designed specifically to tackle the most common vaginal health issues
- Helps to relieve and prevent itching, dryness, and odor
- Contains 4 clinically studied vaginal probiotics
- Includes prebiotics for maximum effectiveness
- Two capsules per day serving
- Antibiotics, GMO, and gluten-free
- 100% vegan
- Amazing women’s health brand with a great reputation
- Affordable monthly cost
- It’s a newer product, so there aren’t a ton of reviews yet
- I didn’t see any clinical trials yet on this product specifically
For 15% off, use code: FIT2022
VeeBiotics kills two birds with one stone, bringing you both vaginal and gut health probiotics in one innovative formula so that you can optimize your flora in both your gut and your vagina at the same time. The ingredients in VeeBiotics allow you to restore a healthy pH balanced, allowing you to keep odor, itching, and burning related to BV at bay.
The gut and immune systems work together to regulate and control your body’s overall health, and a healthy vaginal flora starts with healthy gut flora. VeeBiotics contains a unique probiotic formula that has 40 billion CFU daily women’s probiotic blend plus 10 billion CFU proprietary probiotic blend. Additionally, VeeFresh added Apple Cider Vinegar to their formula for even more health and wellness benefits.
- Designed to help you optimize your gut and your vaginal microbiome at once
- Promotes vaginal and urinary tract health
- Supports healthy digestion
- Reduces bloating
- Helps to maintain overall health and well-being
- 50 billion CFU formula
- Gluten, dairy, and soy free
- A vaginal health-specific brand with many products designed to help with related issues
- Affordable monthly cost
- If you’re only looking for a vaginal probiotic, this one contains probiotics for the gut, too
- The vaginal-specific probiotic strains in this formula aren’t as concentrated as other options
Private Party from HUM Nutrition is a BV probiotic that supports vaginal and urinary tract health with a potent probiotic and cranberry blend. The key ingredients in Private Party help to promote a healthy vaginal pH + microbiome while supporting the balance of good bacteria and urinary tract health.
Private Party contains 3 strains of probiotics to help support a healthy vaginal microbiome, which helps to prevent BV and BV symptoms. Plus, HUM added cranberry PACs to support your urinary tract function.
- Supports vaginal microbiome plus urinary tract
- Promotes a healthy pH balance to prevent and heal BV
- Contains 3 vaginal-specific probiotic strains
- Prevents the overgrowth of yeast
- Only one capsule is needed per day
- Great women’s health brand with many products for wellness
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, and third-party tested for purity
- Affordable monthly cost
- This formula only contains 10 billion CFUs, which is low compared to other options
- Some users experienced adverse side effects, possibly from the cranberries
Wisp’s special probiotic blend for vaginal health and BV prevention helps to restore your vagina’s natural pH balance and relieve any and all uncomfortable symptoms. This daily super pill also supports your general immune health, providing full-body optimization.
This over-the-counter vaginal supplement by Hello Wisp works hard to promote vaginal wellness by supporting good bacterial balance in the gut and in the reproductive system. With Wisp’s probiotic, you can keep infections like BV and UTIs at bay and improve and restore your gut and vaginal flora.
- Helps support your vaginal and gut microbiomes at once
- 200 billion CFUs
- Each bottle comes with a 45-day supply
- Helps to prevent BV, UTIs, and yeast infections
- Hello Wisp can also provide prescription sexual health medications, should you need it
- Discreet packaging when shipping and discreet labels for privacy
- Not vegan
- Also contains gut health probiotics, so be wary if you’re already taking a gut probiotic
Promote by Uqora was designed to help maintain healthy vaginal bacteria, which is vital for urinary health. Promote is part of Uqora’s 3-part proactive regimen that’s recommended for anyone who is sexually active and/or postmenopausal.
Promote includes three crucial vaginal strains of bacteria including Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus Reuteri, which live naturally in a healthy vagina. Using Promote allows you to maintain a healthy and balanced vaginal microbiome which will help prevent BV and other vaginal infections.
- Vaginal-specific probiotic for BV and urinary tract health
- It’s part of a 3-part proactive system from Uqora
- Helps increase the number of healthy bacteria in your vagina
- Only one capsule is required per day
- Can be taken alongside your gut health probiotics without interference
- Antibiotic-free, vegan, and gluten-free
- A popular vaginal health brand
- Thousands of positive reviews
- Promote is part of a 3-part system, so for best results, you should purchase all three products
- While the cost of the probiotic is reasonable, once you buy all three products, it’s much less affordable monthly if you’re on a budget
Clairvee is a simple yet effective vaginal probiotic that’s designed to help protect you from odor, itching, and discharge from BV and/or any other vaginal health issue. This once-daily pill is designed to be taken for just 15 days per month but keeps you protected all month long.
Bonafide designed Clairvee to target the primary cause of your symptoms, not just mask them thanks to the specially formulated probiotic strain blend that’s made up of vaginal flora-supporting probiotics.
- Rigorously studied and researched to be effective at balancing the vaginal microbiome
- Once daily pill to be taken for just 15 days out of a whole month
- Provides protection against BV symptoms for the entire month
- Studies show that 88% of women remained free of vaginal discharge and itching after taking for 4 months
- Small, easy-to-swallow capsule
- Bonafide is an incredible women’s health brand with a full line of woman’s wellness supplements, particularly for those in their later years
- The monthly cost is higher than some of the alternatives
- There’s a lower CFU count than some alternatives
Happy V’s Women’s Daily Prebiotic + Probiotic was specifically designed to target BV and yeast infections in women. This supplement was made with 8 clinically proven ingredients in clinically proven dosages.
Happy V’s formula is doctor-formulated with 100% natural probiotics that are effective at balancing the vaginal pH while restoring gut health and improving immune health at the same time. Each serving contains 20 billion active CFU.
- Clinically proven ingredients for targeting BV and yeast infections
- Supports vaginal flora, gut, and immune health all in one
- Free of allergens and artificial ingredients
- Vegan-friendly and non-GMO
- Delayed release capsules for maximum absorption
- Transparent labeling
- Tons of positive reviews and feedback
- The monthly cost is a tad higher than some other options
- If you’re looking for an exclusive vaginal probiotic, this might not be your best option as it also supports the gut
Conclusion: Which BV Probitioic Is Best?
As with most supplements, there’s no cut-and-dry answer here, the best BV probiotic is the one that works for you and aligns with your unique needs. As a nutritionist, women’s health addict, and research junkie, I am always seeking the best options for our most common problems, weeding out the bad and celebrating the good.
When it comes to finding a high-quality, effective, and affordable BV probiotic, the options on this list are the top choices, without a doubt. Our goal was to help put these brands in front of you so that you can narrow down your options and select the ones that are right for you.
Even if you aren’t currently experiencing BV or BV symptoms, as women, we should be on top of our vaginal care, and adding in a vaginal probiotic is always beneficial for keeping things balanced and fresh.