Ecological dynamics of the vaginal microbiome in relation to health and disease Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The bacterial composition of the vaginal microbiome is thought to be related to health and disease states of women. This microbiome is particularly dynamic, with compositional changes related to pregnancy, menstruation, and disease states such as bacterial vaginosis. In order to understand these dynamics and their impact on health and disease, ecological theories have been introduced to study the complex interactions between the many taxa in the vaginal bacterial ecosystem. The goal of this review is to introduce the ecological principles that are used in the study of the vaginal microbiome and its dynamics, and to review the application of ecology to vaginal microbial communities with respect to health and disease. Although applications of vaginal microbiome analysis and modulation have not yet been introduced into the routine clinical setting, a deeper understanding of its dynamics has the potential to facilitate development of future practices, for example in the context of postmenopausal vaginal symptoms, stratifying risk for obstetric complications, and controlling sexually transmitted infections.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018