What Is the Role of Yeast and Bacteria in the Vagina?

Yeast and bacteria are the major players in determining vaginal health. Your body has limited resources, so only so much yeast and bacteria can survive at any given time, causing them to compete. If the yeast grows too much, you can end up with a yeast infection. If the wrong kind of bacteria gains control, you can end up with odor or a bacterial infection.

Luckily, there are two types of bacteria: pathogenic bacteria and beneficial bacteria. The pathogenic bacteria are the kind you don’t want—odor-causing bacteria, infection-causing bacteria. The beneficial bacteria are the good kind—the lactobacillus that keeps the yeast and pathogenic bacteria in check. As long as everything stays in balance, the beneficial bacteria thrive and the yeast and pathogenic bacteria are unable to take control.