Association between the vaginal microbiota, menopause status, and signs of vulvovaginal atrophy.
ABSTRACT The vaginal microbiota helps protect the female genital tract from disease. We sought to describe the composition of the vaginal microbiota in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women and to explore the association between the microbiota and vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA).
Eighty-seven women (aged 35-60 y) were classified as premenopausal (n = 30), perimenopausal (n = 29), or postmenopausal (n = 28) according to Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop guidelines. Midvaginal bacterial community composition was characterized by 16S ribosomal RNA gene analysis.
Bacterial communities clustered into six community state types (CSTs), of which four were dominated by Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus iners, or Lactobacillus jensenii, and two (CST IV-A and CST IV-B) had low relative abundance of Lactobacillus. CST IV-A was characterized by Streptococcus and Prevotella, whereas CST IV-B was characterized by Atopobium. There were significant associations between menopause stage and CST (P = 0.004) and between VVA and CST (P = 0.002). Perimenopausal women were more likely to be classified as CST IV-A or L. gasseri CST, whereas postmenopausal women were often classified as CST IV-A. CSTs dominated by L. crispatus and L. iners were more prevalent in premenopausal women. Nineteen participants had signs of mild or moderate VVA. Compared with women with no VVA, the vaginal microbiota of women with mild or moderate atrophy had 25-fold greater odds of being classified as CST IV-A versus L. crispatus CST (adjusted odds ratio, 25.89; 95% credible interval, 2.98-406.79).
A distinct bacterial community state (CST IV-A) with a low relative abundance of Lactobacillus is associated with VVA. Future studies recruiting a larger number of women are needed to replicate the findings. This study provides an impetus for future longitudinal studies designed to manage, modulate, and restore vaginal microbiota homeostasis, which would provide stronger evidence for a causal relationship with VVA and ultimately improve the treatment and prevention of atrophic vaginitis in menopause.
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ABSTRACT: Smoking has been identified in observational studies as a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition defined in part by decimation of Lactobacillus spp. The anti-estrogenic effect of smoking and trace amounts of benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE) may predispose women to BV. BPDE increases bacteriophage induction in Lactobacillus spp. and is found in the vaginal secretions of smokers. We compared the vaginal microbiota between smokers and non-smokers and followed microbiota changes in a smoking cessation pilot study.BMC Infectious Diseases 08/2014; 14(1):471. DOI:10.1186/1471-2334-14-471 · 2.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Vaginal microbiota and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are likely to influence the transmission of cell-associated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Lactic acid produced by Lactobacillus-dominated microbiota (Nugent score 0-3) will likely inhibit transmission, especially female-to-male transmission. In contrast, polymicrobial microbiota (Nugent score 4-10), community state types IV-A and IV-B, and STIs will likely increase transmission of cell-associated HIV. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.The Journal of Infectious Diseases 12/2014; 210(suppl 3):S616-S621. DOI:10.1093/infdis/jiu459 · 5.78 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: IntroductionThe terminology for the genitourinary tract symptoms related to menopause was vulvovaginal atrophy, which does not accurately describe the symptoms nor is a term that resonates well with patients.AimIn 2012, the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH) and the Board of Trustees of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) acknowledged the need to review current terminology associated with genitourinary tract symptoms related to menopause.Methods The two societies cosponsored a terminology consensus conference, which was held in May 2013.Main Outcome MeasureThe development of a new terminology that more accurately described the genitourinary tract symptoms related to menopause.ResultsMembers of the consensus conference agreed that the term genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) is a medically more accurate, all-encompassing, and publicly acceptable term than vulvovaginal atrophy. GSM is defined as a collection of symptoms and signs associated with a decrease in estrogen and other sex steroids involving changes to the labia majora/minora, clitoris, vestibule/introitus, vagina, urethra, and bladder. The syndrome may include but is not limited to genital symptoms of dryness, burning, and irritation; sexual symptoms of lack of lubrication, discomfort or pain, and impaired function; and urinary symptoms of urgency, dysuria, and recurrent urinary tract infections. Women may present with some or all of the signs and symptoms, which must be bothersome and should not be better accounted for by another diagnosis.Conclusion The term GSM was presented and discussed at the annual meeting of each society. The respective Boards of NAMS and ISSWSH formally endorsed the new terminology—genitourinary syndrome of menopause—in 2014. DJ Portman, MLS Gass, on behalf of the Vulvovaginal Atrophy Terminology Consensus Conference Panel. Genitourinary syndrome of menopause: New terminology for vulvovaginal atrophy from the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health and The North American Menopause Society. J Sex Med **;**:**–**.Journal of Sexual Medicine 09/2014; 11(12). DOI:10.1111/jsm.12686 · 3.15 Impact Factor