Secrets of the vaginal microbiome: why women’s microbes could be key to a healthy generation
We do not leave alone! In fact, we are more bacteria than humans, and these bacteria live in/on our skin, mouth, nose, gut, and urogenital tract. This collection of bacteria is known as the human microbiome. Both humans and bacteria benefit from this collaboration, with humans providing nutrients to bacteria species and bacteria help digest our food, regulate our immune system, produce vitamins and defend us against pathogens.
THE VAGINAL MICROBIOME – WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
The vaginal microbiome is characterized by low bacterial diversity. This low diversity, unlike other human microbial niches, is associated with health. The dominant species in the vaginal niche belong to the genus Lactobacillus, a synonymous of health. The most commonly found species are Lactobacillus crispatus and Lactobacillus iners, followed by Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus jensenii. Lactobacillus species nurture the vagina healthy, by the production of lactic acid, and bioactive molecules which keep pathogens in check (1).
A lack of lactobacilli and an overgrowth o ...