Women’s health: the close relationship between vaginal and intestinal microbiota

That our state of health depends on the well-being of the intestine is now scientific evidence. Our second brain, or “Visceral Brain”as defined, is in fact inhabited by a highly specialized ecosystem, increasingly studied by science: the intestinal microbiota which includes more than 5,000 species of bacteria. Its balance is synonymous with physical and psychological well-being just as any alteration of it subjects the intestine to stressful situations that affect the whole organism.

This is why knowing and taking care of the intestinal microbiota is increasingly important. To raise awareness of the centrality of the microbiota in human well-being, the portal was born Olobiotico.it. Presented at the launch of Entero4 of Uriach Italy and coordinated by a pool of experts, the site offers a 360 degree view of health care microbiotaalso highlighting a fundamental aspect and still little known: this is the importance of gut microbiota for female health.

“Today, it is increasingly important to know the microbiota, to respect it and to integrate it when factors such as poor diet, disease, stress, aging and menopause lead to an impoverishment of its very rich biodiversity – explains Professor Alessandra Graziottin, President of the Graziottin Foundation, Director of the Center for Gynecology and Medical Sexology at San Raffaele Resnati Hospital in Milan, one of the experts in Olobiotico.it – In fact we are all the more in good health as our microbiota is diversified. This means that our health becomes poorer, not only when the absolute number of microorganisms that make up the microbiota is reduced, but also when the number of strains present decreases because each of them performs a different task”.

It may sound strange but in fact they depend on the intestinal microbiota very important functions of the body with which it lives in symbiosis, in a continuous exchange: through our actions we can indeed help the microbiota to stay healthy as well as the the gut microbiota itself is capable of influencing our behavior.

“The intestinal microbiota is the most relevant microbiota within our body – explains Professor Graziottin – it is capable, for example, of influence how we eat, stimulate cravings for certain foods, but not only. It has been shown that the 90% serotoninthe mood hormone, is not in the head as we thought but in the visceral brain, that is to say our intestines. This explains why eating well makes us happy. At the same time, we know that the gut acts as a lightning rod to stress and negative emotions and it is by far the most important immune-competent organ in our body. It is a discovery made a few years ago that most of our immune defenses are organized by the intestine.

Gut microbiota and women’s health

Another interesting aspect is how the gut microbiota of each individual is both unique and dynamic, subject to external factors that can modify it such as capable of modulating in the different phases of a woman’s life. From infancy through puberty, from pregnancy through puerperium, through menopause and aging, women’s gut microbiota – different from that of men – it changes also play an important role in women’s health.

“We now know that a part of the intestinal microbiota, precisely called estrobolomeis able to produce and metabolize estrogen – explains Professor Graziottin – or the female hormones par excellence, which play a fundamental physiological role in maintaining women’s health. From there, it is easy to understand that the microbiota has a huge influence on the female universe by modulating the level of estrogen: let’s talk about it effects on weight, libido and even mood. An aspect that makes us understand how important it is to know the microbiota and to respect it in order to live well”.

Intestinal microbiota and vaginal microbiota

And that’s not all: the importance of the intestinal microbiota for women’s health is also explained by hers ability to communicate with the vaginal microbiotaregulating crucial functions.

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