Cervicovaginal microbiota, women's health, and reproductive outcomes

We discuss how the composition and function of the vaginal microbiota will impact reproductive health management.

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Volume 110, Issue 3, Pages 327–336

Authors:

Samuel J. Kroon, Ph.D., Jacques Ravel, B.Sc., Wilhelmina M. Huston, Ph.D.

Abstract:

The human microbiome project has shown a remarkable diversity of microbial ecology within the human body. The vaginal microbiota is unique in that in many women it is most often dominated by Lactobacillus species. However, in some women it lacks Lactobacillus spp. and is comprised of a wide array of strict and facultative anaerobes, a state that broadly correlates with increased risk for infection, disease, and poor reproductive and obstetric outcomes. Interestingly, the level of protection against infection can also vary by species and strains of Lactobacillus, and some species although dominant are not always optimal. This factors into the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and possibly influences the occurrence of resultant adverse reproductive outcomes such as tubal factor infertility. The composition and function of the vaginal microbiota appear to play an important role in pregnancy and fertility treatment outcomes and future research in this field will shed further translational mechanistic understanding onto the interplay of the vaginal microbiota with women's health and reproduction.


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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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