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Vaginal microbiome, the “good bacteria” are also good for fertility

by admin
Vaginal microbiome, the “good bacteria” are also good for fertility

diAnna Fregonara

New evidence highlights the importance of the intimate microbiome also for preventing infections and in the health of the genital system

Intimate health also depends on the vaginal microbiota: it seems to prove to be a fundamental regulator of the barrier function of the female genital tract against sexually transmitted infections and pathogens, also thanks to the presence of Lactobacillus, lactic ferments which belong to the same genus as those used for the fermentation of yogurt, but of different species.

The bacteria

«In 2011 a study published in the journal Pnas analyzed the vaginal microbiota of 396 non-pregnant, fertile and asymptomatic North American women from four ethnic groups. Five main groups had been highlighted in relation to the presence or absence of some species of Lactobacilli. The Lactobacillus genus was one of the dominant bacteria”, explains Luca Masucci, adjunct professor of the Institute of Microbiology, head of the Molecular Diagnostics and Microbiota Manipulation Operational Unit, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Gemelli of Rome. “The role of these bacteria is to produce lactic acid and make the vagina an acidic environment, thus interfering with the growth of pathogenic bacteria and creating a eubiotic environment favoring fertilization.”

Infections

«Infections of the female and male genital tract can have an exogenous origin, therefore sexually transmitted, or endogenous, due to bacteria coming from the intestine» clarifies Masucci «The evaluation of the vaginal microbiota can help in highlighting, for example, a state of predisposition to inflammation or the development of infections, such as that caused by the papilloma virus or by an excess of anaerobic microorganisms (bacterial vaginosis). Today we can understand what a vaginal profile could undergo or what situation it could have been modified by. This allows us to act with targeted interventions and does not preclude microbiological diagnostic research of other vaginal pathogens whose presence may or may not be perceived by the subject.”

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Hormonal changes

«The vaginal microbiota varies throughout life: there are Lactobacilli at birth that are lost from the sixth week of life until puberty; then they return to dominate in the fertile period while in menopause we return to the pre-pubertal state. Alterations are also possible during the menstrual phase.” Is intestinal microbiota transplantation a potential cure? «With the infusion of microbiota from a healthy donor, it is conceivable that in the future it will also be possible to act at the level of the female genital tract and resolve inflammations such as bacterial vaginosis. This procedure at the Gemelli Polyclinic is consolidated for the treatment of intestinal tract infections and is the subject of study in various clinical trials on systemic pathologies, including neurodegenerative ones.”

April 19, 2024

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