Women who suffer from a common vaginal infection that makes them more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections can soon be treated with vaginal fluid transplants.
US scientists are currently studying the technique, which would involve taking vaginal bacteria from a healthy donor and transferring it to the patient, in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis (BV).
BV, the most common vaginal infection in women aged 15 to 44 years, is a type of "vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally present in the vagina, which disrupts the natural balance", according to Mayo Clinic.
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Although the causes have not been fully understood, the infection is believed to be triggered by irrigation or sexual intercourse with multiple partners
While BV, which can cause symptoms including subtle, white discharge, burning or itching and an "unpleasant smell", generally does not lead to complications, the infection can lead to preterm birth, to increased susceptibility to transmission infections sexual (IST) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Currently, BV is treated with antibiotics, however, it is known to continue to return.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who published their results in the journal Borders in cellular and infection microbiology, studied the transplantation technique for the treatment of BV after seeing the success of fecal microbiota transplants (FMT).
"Vaginal microbiota transplantation (VMT) has the potential to revolutionize the way we see and treat conditions that affect the female reproductive tract," the researchers wrote.
To test the treatment, the researchers tested 20 women through a universal donor screening program that analyzed variables such as sexual history and vaginal products. The scientists also collected urine, vaginal fluid and blood samples.
According to the results, 35% of women were eligible to be a donor of vaginal fluid transplants. The hope is that scientists will finally be able to identify the "super donors", who have a favorable microbiota dominated by lactobacillus, which tends to be higher in the protective lactic acid content and at a lower pH.
To become donors, the researchers suggest that it would be necessary to abstain from sex for at least 30 days before providing a sample. The donor would also be screened for infections, including HIV.
According to the co-author and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Laura Ensign: "Once a safe donor has been identified using this protocol, he could donate on several occasions properly selected. The idea of a "super-donor" without identified or past infections and with a favorable microbiota dominated by Lactobacillus is one that should be explored ".
The technique has already received regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"If we can get funding, we could start right away," said Dr. Ensign.
. (tagsToTranslate) bacterial vaginosis (t) IST (t) vagina (t) Sex (t) Health and families (t) Lifestyle