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New U Ideas

published on 31 Jan 2021

New U Ideas — Global Health Innovation for Women

Vaginal microbiome and natural therapeutics

Dr. Colleen Fogarty Draper, R.D.


The vaginal microbiome has been decoded [1]. What does this mean? The vaginal microbiome plays a significant role in maintaining mucosal health, disease protection and optimizing birth outcomes. Lactobacillus crispatus seems to be important for vaginal health and Lactobacillus diversity is of utmost importance to prevent such problems as bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV).

Estrogen protects this diversity and promotes Lactobacillus stability. Diet plays a role through its effect on the gut microbiome [2]. More research is needed on diet and probiotic impact to understand best therapies [3].

The skin microbiome may be a reflection of the gut microbiome which impacts the vaginal microbiome [4]. Ultimately, we will be able to determine the health of the vagina with a skin tape strip for easy, non-invasive microbiome analysis [5]. A clinical research program should be designed to substantiate and validate the interconnection of these ideas. In the future, this non-invasive skin based diagnostic could be used to determine optimal ingestible and topical therapies to improve women’s vaginal health, prevent disease, and optimize birth outcomes globally.

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