Part of our innovative approach to female health is looking after the vaginal microbiome, the collection of beneficial bacteria which is essential to vaginal health.
This is an area of medicine which is often completely overlooked. Treatments for common conditions such as recurrent urinary tract infections (like cystitis), thrush, and bacterial vaginosis often lead to multiple courses of antibiotics or anti-fungal drugs, further disrupting the delicate vaginal microbiome.
These medicines also have a huge impact on your gut microbiome.
Vaginal health is particularly affected by changes in oestrogen levels during puberty and menopause. The later life drop in oestrogen contributes to vaginal dryness (amongst other symptoms) and alterations in the composition of the bacterial ecosystem.
Our Protective Lactobacillus
Unlike the gut microbiome, which thrives on diversity, a health vaginal microbiome should be dominated by the lactobacilli species.
Recent research, published in The Lancet in 2019, suggested that the presence of ovarian cancer, or factors known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer such as older age or the BRCA1 gene mutation,
are associated with an absence of the protective lactobacillus.
The vaginal microbiome can be tested with a simple swab which is then analysed in the laboratory for bacteria, yeasts, and inflammatory markers.
As with gut microbiome testing, informed decisions can then be taken to improve your bacterial composition and imune health.
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