Alas, it’s true: “The gut and vaginal immune systems are interconnected,” says board-certified OB-GYN Karen Toubi, M.D.
“The gut microbiome helps educate and modulate the immune system, which can influence immune responses in other areas, including the vagina,” Toubi says.
So when your gut health is struggling, be it after you’ve been sick, had a long weekend of junk food and alcohol, etc., that may be reflected in your vaginal health, too.
What’s more, your gut and vagina actually share bacteria back and forth. “Microbes can migrate between the gut and vagina, establishing a dynamic relationship,” notes board-certified OB-GYN Renita White, M.D.
Your gut and vaginal microbiome profiles aren’t identical, but they do have shared characteristics. “The vaginal microbiome is made up of a mix of bacteria, but is dominated by Lactobacillus species,” White says. This specific bacteria is also found in the gut, she adds.
“This type of bacteria produces lactic acid1, which helps to keep vaginal pH more acidic in order to ward off infections,” White notes. In other words, you need this bacteria to be balanced if you want your vaginal microbiome to thrive without complications.