Infertility and the vaginal microbiome. It is estimated that 7.5 million women between the ages 15 and 44 have impaired fertility and fecundity. It is established that the maternal microbiome influeences the risk of chronic diseases and mood disorders throughout life. It plays a central role in protecting and influencing the balance of bacteria in the vaginal tract. Bacterial infections also affect fertility and the risk of preterm labor and post-partum complications, such as STDs, bacterial vaginosis, UTIs, and Group B streptococcus.
The vaginal tract is regulated by the vaginal microbiome. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are released from epithelial cells of the female reproductive tract in response to chemical signals from the local microbial community to protect against inflammation and pathogen invasion. The microbiome is influenced by hormonal changes, estrogen stimulates the vaginal epithelia to produce glycogen, which is then metabolized by lactobacilli.
The lactobacilli produce lactic and organic acids that lower the vaginal pH to 3.7-4.5 making it more acidic and less hospitable to pathogenic bacteria. Estrogen levels play a role in a woman's susceptibility to vaginal infection and fertility as well.
The NIH-funded research study known as the Vaginal Microbiome Project seeks to understand and characterize the vaginal microbiome how it relates to health and disease, using the latest technology in gene sequencing. They found that the cervix serves to protect the upper genital tract from microbial invasion and subsequent reproductive pathology. Microorganisms that cross this barrier have the ability to cause preterm labor, pelvic inflammatory disease and other reproductive disorders. Maintaining homeostastis in the vaginal microbiome is imperative in reproductive health. A better understanding of the vaginal microbiome will help in protecting and promoting a more fertile environment and is essential for identifying risk factors for disease and the development of treatment.
For postmenopausal women vaginal health is equally as important. Although fertility may no longer be the main concern, post-menopausal women suffering estrogen deficiencies may experience genitourinary syndrome. The Mona Lisa Touch Laser works to counteract the effects of menopause on the vagina. It is an excellent option for women with a history of breast cancer, thrombophlebitis or other contraindications to estrogen therapy, inadequate response to estrogen therapies or for those who experience a decline of treatment results with estrogen or women who desire to return to premenopausal vaginal health.
Vaginal health is important at all stages of life. Click below to download our free MonaLisa Touch infographic to learn more about this life changing treatment.