Vaginal dysbiosis is a condition that occurs when the balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina is disrupted. Normally, the vagina contains a mix of different bacteria that help maintain a healthy environment. When this balance is disturbed, harmful bacteria may overgrow, leading to discomfort and various health issues.
Causes of Vaginal Dysbiosis
The vaginal microbiome can be a sensitive environment. There are several triggers can throw out the PH and bacteria of the vaginal microbiome:
Antibiotics: Taking antibiotics can sometimes kill the good bacteria in the vagina, allowing harmful ones to take over.
Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those during pregnancy or menopause, can affect the vaginal microbiome.
Not washing correctly: Using douches or harsh soaps can disrupt the natural balance of the vagina.
Sexual Activity: Frequent or unprotected sexual activity can introduce new bacteria, potentially causing imbalances.
Symptoms of Vaginal Dysbiosis
The diagnosis of vaginal dysbiosis can be complex, as symptoms can overlap with various vaginal conditions. The below symptoms will usually tell you that something is out of balance:
Abnormal Discharge: Unusual colour, consistency, or odour of vaginal discharge.
Itching or Irritation: Persistent itching or discomfort in the vaginal area.
Burning Sensation: A burning sensation while urinating or during intercourse.
Increased Sensitivity to Infections: In particular yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
How is Vaginal Dysbiosis Diagnosed?
If you suspect you have vaginal dysbiosis, it's important to see a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. They may perform a physical examination and collect a sample of vaginal discharge for laboratory testing. These tests can help identify the specific bacteria present and determine if there's an imbalance.
Atlantia is running a women’s health study that is looking at vaginal microbiome transplants to improve vaginal dysbiosis. As part of this study, our medical doctors will test whether you have vaginal dysbiosis. Find out more here.
What is a Vaginal Microbiome Transplant?
A vaginal microbiome transplant is an innovative treatment option for women with vaginal dysbiosis. It involves transferring healthy vaginal bacteria from a donor to the recipient to restore the balance of microorganisms in the recipient's vagina.
The goal of a vaginal microbiome transplant is to reintroduce beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus species, into the recipient's vagina. This can help establish a healthier microbiome and alleviate symptoms associated with dysbiosis.
Current Studies to advance knowledge:
Researchers continue to explore the intricacies of the vaginal microbiome, paving the way for potential interventions and therapies that could improve women's reproductive health and overall well-being. In one of our recent women’s health studies, Atlantia is looking at the effect of a Vaginal Microbiome Transplant on vaginal dysbiosis in healthy women. If you want to know more, you can click here.