These observations form the basis of a new report by Lumina Intelligence, which discusses possible directions this market may head towards, propelled by growing scientific backing and product development.
The report states the discovery of new microbiome communities on the human body means the emergence of products addressing breast health and osteoporosis are not so far-fetched.
“Science is building linking probiotics and osteoporosis benefits,” says report author and Lumina analyst Emer Mackle.
“Osteoporosis is critical for women as up to 20% of Bone Mass Density can be lost in the 5-7 years post-menopause. Probiotics are a potential value added ingredient to boost bone health post-menopause.
“Also, there are several menopausal symptoms including the most commonly known – hot flushes. Relieving the lesser-known symptoms like recurring UTIs and vaginal dryness offers probiotics an avenue to establish themselves against vitamins, minerals and herbals.”
1.4 billion women
These emerging areas join the more established female-specific probiotic products for vaginal health, urinary tract infections, pregnancy and skin health in forming a market with a potential audience of more than 1.4 billion women.
Key to its growth is much to do with women’s traditional role as ‘health gatekeepers’ in many family structures, with the internet a valuable information source.
Google Trends data on the term ‘probiotics for women’ shows a 6x rise in popularity globally in the past five years, with significant spikes after 2016.
The report also finds the most search traffic emanating in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia with phrases like ‘pH balance’ referring to vaginal health also seeing an increase in searches.
The report: ‘Probiotics & Women’s Health,’ specifically identifies pregnancy as a key growth area, in which women usually pay more attention to their diet during and before pregnancy.
“Supplements such as folic acid and iron are very popular and marketed directly to pregnant women, and so it is with probiotics,” the report adds.
“Ailments like UTIs and bacterial vaginosis occur more frequently during pregnancy and can cause complications such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and increased risk of miscarriage or premature labour.
“Also, if women are using In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and bacterial vaginosis occurs they may increase the likelihood of having a miscarriage.”
Product-wise the report highlights Culturelle Women’s Healthy Balance as the most popular pregnancy probiotic having amassed over 800 reviews and a rating of 4.2/5.
The product uses Astarte probiotic strains taken directly from the vaginas of healthy pregnant women.
Products mentioned for breast health include ‘Garden Of Life Raw Probiotics Women 50 & Wise,’ ‘Vitafair High dosage Indol-3-Carbinol,’ ‘Lactanza Hereditum,’ and ‘Nutralactis Maternal.’
The report adds that studies suggest probiotics can be an alternative to antibiotics for mastitis relief with increasing work undertaken to aid understanding of the breast microbiome.
“A potential target market of 1bn women who may be susceptible to these health concerns, with many more interested in ‘natural’ alternatives to medical system drugs,” the report concludes.
“There is massive potential for growth in all markets, especially where online consumer engagement is very low to non-existent in all countries except the US and China.”