Friday, January 2, 2009

Fem-Dophilus: The Big Debate

In my previous posts, I talked about why probiotics is the right approach to dealing with BV, and how Fem-Dophilus is probably the best single OTC product there is, so far.

The big debate in the Bust Lounge was about whether Fem-Dophilus should be used vaginally.

I understand the urge that many women feel to treat the problem at the source. And I agree that putting the good bacteria right where it needs to be is probably the most effective method.

I don't have a recommendation about what you should do. But here are the Pro's and Con's of the vaginal use of Fem-Dophilus.

Pros:

  • Fem-dophilus was used vaginally during clinical trials by its makers (source)
  • A Bust Lounge member contacted one of the doctors who created Fem-Dophilus (Dr. Gregot Reid) and asked if it could be used vaginally. He answered,"yes."
  • Some Bust Lounge members have used it this way, and have reported no ill effects.

Cons:

  • I'm personally not convinced that a capsule filled with starchy ingredients is the best delivery system for the vagina. (I've had a terrible experience with a similar product, which I will detail in a future post about "thumbs-down" products.)

    The problem is mostly about the capsule not breaking down and dissolving completely, and the pieces mixing with the starchy ingredients inside, causing irritation.
  • A few Bust Lounge members have experienced these same unpleasant effects of trying to use Fem-Dophilus vaginally.


So, should you use Fem-Dophilus vaginally? Personally, I would err on the side of caution, so I would recommend against it. It's effective when taken orally, and that is the safest way. On the other hand, one of the doctors who developed the product endorses vaginal use. The company simply can't market the product this way, because there are more stringent requirements for a vaginal product.

Which brings the issue back to the safety issue - why isn't it officially approved for vaginal use, the same way that Monistat or RepHresh is?

As you can see, I don't have the definite answer about what you should do. I can tell you that vaginal use is "off-label" use, and because of previous bad experiences, I personally wouldn't use it this way. But some ladies do use it this way, so be aware of that.

Some tips: Some users who use the product vaginally also use it along with a acidic lubricant (e.g., RepHresh) which may help the capsule break down better. And one user even takes the powder out of the capsule, and mixes it with a lubricant and applies it with her finger. I'm not personally endorsing any particular way to use it, but just letting you know some of the ways that the product is used.

As you will see if you continue to read my blog, I'm a big believer in presenting all the information, and leaving it to each person to make her decision about which treatment is the best for her.

Of course, none of the this debate is necessary if you just take the product orally. It is very safe that way. No one has ever suffered any ill effects by using Fem-Dophilus exactly as described by the instructions.