Your gut and vaginal microbiome are connected—that’s why it matters
Unfortunately, it’s true: “The gut and vaginal immune systems are interconnected,” says board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist Karen Tubby, MD.
“The gut microbiome helps educate and modulate the immune system, which can influence immune responses in other areas, including the vagina,” Tooby says.
So when your gut health goes down, whether it’s after you’ve been sick, had a long weekend of junk food and alcohol, etc., it can also affect your vaginal health.
What’s more, your gut and vagina actually exchange bacteria back and forth. “Microbes can migrate between the gut and vagina, establishing a dynamic relationship,” says Renita White, MD, board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist.
The profiles of your gut and vaginal microbiomes are not identical, but they share characteristics. “The vaginal microbiome consists of a mixture of bacteria, but it is dominated Lactobacilli species,” says White. These specific bacteria are also found in the gut, she adds.
“This type of bacteria produces lactic acid1, which helps keep the vaginal pH more acidic to prevent infections,” White notes. In other words, you need these bacteria to be balanced if you want your vaginal microbiome to thrive without complications.