Scientists at the University of Maryland and the University of Idaho say they’ve discovered that the vaginal microbiome — the bacteria living in the vagina — varies considerably between women. There may not be, in other words, a single way to define what is meant by a normal vaginal environment.
Dr. Larry Forney is a co-author of the research and director of the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies at the University of Idaho.
He says the discovery might open the door for more personalized medicine for women. “By understanding the differences in the kinds of bacteria that are found among women, and how those might change over time, that you could actually develop multiple kinds of probiotics, not truly personalized, but multiple kinds of probiotics that would do a more effective job of covering the diversity of women that are found in the general population.”
The study was published online May 2 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio