Vaginal infections: what if it’s the men’s fault?

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Bacterial vaginosis is an inflammation of the vaginal lining. This vaginal infection commonly occurs when the balance of bacteria, which is naturally found in the vagina, is upset. For the time being, the role of men in this infection is an avenue that has been little explored. However, the penile microbiota could be the cause of the development of bacterial vaginosis in women, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the United States.

Vaginal infections: circumcision has a real influence

To reach this conclusion, scientists carried out a study. They looked for the link between the penile microbiota and the occurrence of this vaginal infection. To do this, the researchers followed for a year 168 heterosexual couples who had regular sex. At the start of the study, no woman had vaginosis.

The authors assessed the presence of bacterial vaginosis in the women after one month, six months, and one year after starting the study. The researchers also took samples from men in the urinary meatus, the glans and the coronary sulcus to analyze the bacteria.

The verdict is in. The results, published on August 4 in the journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, found that 31% of women, who did not have bacterial vaginosis at the start of the study, eventually developed one. According to the study, 26.3% of them developed a vaginal infection when their partner was circumcised and 37.3% when they were not. This difference is thought to be caused by a lower number of bacteria in circumcised penises.

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Men play a role in the development of vaginal infections

“The concordance of the penile microbiome with the vaginal microbiome of sexual partners not only reflects the vaginal microbiome, but may contribute to it”. Two hypotheses are put forward by scientists: either the bacteria in the microbiome of men are transmitted directly during sex, or they disrupt the vaginal flora and cause infection in the long term.

The authors believe that one “potential treatment should be effective in reducing or modifying bacteria” present in men and thus reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis in women. “I would like clinicians, researchers, and the general public to include male partners in their efforts to improve women’s reproductive health. … This is not about blaming one or the other. the other of the partners, but to increase the options and possibilities for improvement “, told theAFP Dr. Supriya Mehta, epidemiologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-author of the study.

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