Acidic balance practically allows the species to persist
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/01/2013 -- The micro-sized ecosystem of the vagina is highly important, according to microbiologist Gregor Reid. He presentation on “The Vaginal Microbiome's Role in Humanity” hinged upon the assertion: Our native microbes are passed from generation to generation much like human culture; the microbes of the human vagina are paramount to our survival; and in this era of burgeoning research on the human microbiome generally, we need to pay more attention to them. To not place a huge focus on the vaginal microbiome is like putting human survival at risk,” he said.
The human microbiome consists of the microbes that live on within the human body and atop the skin. Most of the bug inhabit the intestines, and there are a few pounds worth of bacteria, yeasts, archaea, and viruses that help the body handle an array of functions. Such functions include digestion, metabolic calibration, and immune function. There is also a special subset in the vagina.
This subset is important for human reproduction, as a healthy vaginal microbiome produces the lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide that facilitates the acidity that keeps troublemakers at bay. If the wrong microbes invade, then there is trouble that is often vaginosis. The affliction increases the susceptibility of contracting infections that can range from HIV to herpes. Essentially, if the microbiome of the vagina were to shift across the human population, humanity would more than likely be extinct.
While this shows how clear it is that the microbiome needs to be respected for its work, it is not clear if the rate has always been consistently high or if it has been changing over time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made an estimate that nearly 30% of women in American do suffer from a condition that may involve an imbalanced microbiome. That number more than doubles in African American women.
What is worse, the consequences of vaginitis are devastating. Vaginosis skyrockets the possibility of first-trimester spontaneous pregnancy loss. Vaginosis also is held responsible for the quadrupling of preterm birth in Belgium.
Vaginosis “doesn’t get the attention it deserves, because it’s not a sexy STD,” says Deborah Nelson at Temple University in Philadelphia, who led the Philadelphia study.
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