AN INTRODUCTION TO THE VAGINAL MICROBIOME

Research into the vaginal microbiome and how it affects the overall health of women has accelerated over the last decade.

Our whitepaper “An Introduction To The Vaginal Microbiome” aims to explain what the vaginal microbiome is, the characteristics of microorganisms that colonise the vagina, and how it affects the overall health of women.

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WHAT IS THE VAGINAL MICROBIOME?

An ecosystem of bacteria, yeasts, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms colonise the vagina, and together make up what is known as the vaginal microbiome.

Playing a significant role in women’s overall health, a balanced vaginal microbiome protects the vagina from pathogens and anaerobic bacteria, to prevent infections and other diseases. Although there are more than one million bacterial genes, representing over 300 different species of bacteria in the vagina, it is predominantly dominated by Lactobacillus.

Skin Microbiome Bacteria
Skin Microbiome Scientist Lab

HISTORY

Back in 1982, Albert Döderlein, a German obstetrician and gynaecologist was the first to discover a large gram-positive bacterium found in the vagina, vaginal bacillus5. Further studies have shown several kinds of vaginal communities exist in healthy women, composed of different bacterial species depending on ethnicity and physiological states. Usually, they are dominated by one of four common Lactobacillus – L. crispatus, L. iners, L. gasseri and L. jensenii.

Advances in technology have now led to the culmination of data on the vaginal microbiome such as the Human Vaginal Non-Redundant Gene Catalog, or VIRGO.

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WHAT DOES THE VAGINAL MICROBIOME DO?

Similar to other microbiome areas such as the gut, skin, and scalp, the vaginal microbiome is unique to each individual. However, its main objective is to prevent infection and maintain vaginal health. Race, ethnicity, hygiene, and behaviours all heavily influence the composition of a woman’s vaginal microflora, leading the microbiome to continuously fluctuate throughout a woman’s life due to hormonal and lifestyle changes.

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VAGINAL MICROBIOME AND VAGINAL DISEASES

Due to race, age, and hormonal changes, no two women have the same vaginal microbiome. This creates many challenges when diagnosing and treating various types of vaginal disease. However, with the latest technologies, new ways of assessing the vaginal microbiome and changes that occur when infections take place are opening up a wider realm of research for products that can treat infections, or prevent them from ever taking place.

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DOWNLOAD WHITEPAPER

DOWNLOAD WHITEPAPER

Download our full White Paper now to read more about what the vaginal microbiome is, the characteristics of microorganisms that colonise the vagina, and how it affects the overall health of women.

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