Comparative Study on the Vaginal Flora and Incidence of Asymptomatic Vaginosis among Healthy Women and in Women with Infertility Problems of Reproductive Age DC18-DC22
Dr. Balamuru Ganvelu Singaravelu,
Professor, No. 10-9th Cross Extension, Rainbow Nagar, Puducherry-605011, India.
Introduction: The normal vaginal flora is highly complex, dominated by lactobacilli of doderlein that plays a vital role in maintaining the women’s health and inhibits other pathogenic microorganisms. Fluctuation in local environment or exposure to any exogenous and endogenous sources changes the vaginal flora over a period of time. Disruption of the vaginal ecosystem changes the microflora of the healthy vagina, altering the pH and predisposing to lower reproductive tract infections. The change in the microflora of the female genital tract by pathogenic organisms may ascend from vagina to upper genital tract and may cause infertility. Although several studies demonstrate a higher prevalence of bacterial vaginosis in infertile population. The role of vaginal microbiome in infertility is not clear and need to be explored further.
Aim: To compare the vaginal flora and analyse the incidence of asymptomatic vaginosis among healthy women and in women with infertility problems.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted over a period of six months at Sri Lakshmi Narayana Medical College and Hospital Puducherry, India. A total of 200 high vaginal swabs were collected from Group 1 which included 84 healthy women with regular menstrual cycles without any gynaecological disorder and from Group 2, 116 women with infertility problems attending fertility clinic within the age group of 18 to 45 years. All swabs were subjected to routine aerobic, anaerobic and fungal culture. Saline wet mount was performed for the detection of clue cells and Trichomonas vaginalis, 10% KOH was performed for demonstration of budding yeast cells and pseudo hyphae, Gram’s staining to determine the presence of yeast cells, leucocytes and bacterial morphotypes. The smear was also graded using Nugent scoring system.
Results: The vaginal flora of Group 1 was dominated by Lactobacillus (40, 27.8 %) followed by Micrococcus (22, 15.3 %), Enterococcus (16, 11.1%), Coagulase negative Staphylococcus spp. (12, 8.3%). Whereas in Group 2, the most dominant flora was Candida spp. (30, 26.5 %), Enterococcus (26, 23%) followed by Gram negative bacilli such as E. coli (16, 14.1 %). The percentage of Lactobacillus in Group 2 women with infertility problems was relatively low (4, 3.5%). Asymptomatic vaginosis was present in 32 (27.6 %) of Group 2 women compared to Group 1 women were only 6 (7.1%) had asymptomatic vaginosis.
Conclusion: Women with infertility problems showed higher prevalence of asymptomatic vaginosis and abundance of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) associated bacteria compared to healthy women. Hence, this study recommends the screening of vaginal flora as a routine for all women, especially in women undergoing infertility treatment and also suggests the importance of vaginal culture and sensitivity in routine practice.