Any women need a Virginia Beach on their clit

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Vaginal odor might be the last taboo for the modern woman. The companies behind these products know that many women are looking for ways to counter embarrassing and debilitating symptoms such as vaginal odor and discharge. Nearly one-third of U. The sad truth is that these sprays, soaps, and wipes will not fix the problem. They will—in many cases—actually make it worse.

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But while women try to mask embarrassing smells, a more sinister truth also remains under cover: The bacteria responsible are putting millions of women, and their unborn babies, at risk from serious health problems. Compared with those of other mammals, the human vagina is unique. As warm, moist canals exposed to all sorts of things including penises, babies, and dirt, most mammalian vaginas harbor a diverse mix of bacteria.

However, for many women, one or another species of Lactobacillus has become the dominant bacterial resident. Lactobacillus bacteria pump out lactic acid, which keeps the vaginal environment at a low, acidic pH that kills or discourages other bacteria, yeast, and viruses from thriving. There are even hints that certain Lactobacillus species reinforce the mucus in the vagina that acts as a natural barrier to invaders. Although no one knows for sure, researchers speculate that human vaginas gained their Lactobacillus protectors around 10, to 12, years ago when humans began fermenting milk and eating foods like yogurt and cheese, which are full of the bacteria.

Certain Lactobacillus may have expanded their territory to colonize the vagina—traveling the short distance from the anus to the vaginal opening. Normal intrusions to the vaginal environment, such as semen which causes vaginal pH to rise or menstruation, can reduce s of Lactobacillus and allow other microbes, including those associated with bacterial vaginosis BVto flourish.

Like many women, this year-old from a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, was recommended the device for birth control by her doctor after she had her first. After a few weeks, she noticed some worrisome symptoms: increased vaginal discharge and a fishy smell.

Her doctor explained that BV is a disturbance of the natural balance of bacteria that live inside the vagina. Sex with someone new, having multiple partners, and douching—rinsing out the vagina with a bag or bottle of liquid—can all contribute to getting BV, but it is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease. Mostly, how a woman develops BV is still a big mystery. But, as happens to roughly half of the millions of women in the U.

Women affected have a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections STIs like gonorrhoea and chlamydia, acquiring and transmitting HIV, and having pelvic inflammatory disease which can lead to infertility and other vaginal and uterine infections. During pregnancy, BV gives a woman a greater chance of having a preterm birth or passing infections to her baby, both of which can lead to lifelong problems for the baby.

The St. Louis woman is currently pregnant with her third. Before her intrauterine device, the woman had never had a problem with BV. She got the standard hygiene lecture from her gynecologist, Denise Willers: External washing of the vulva should only include water, or a mild, non-foaming soap.

No scents, perfumes or bubble baths. Take showers, not baths. And douching? Absolutely not! Douching of any kind disrupts the balance of good bacteria and is associated with increased risk of BV. Folklore about the need to clean out the vagina—especially after sex or a period—is often handed down from older relatives to younger women. But the vagina is remarkably adept at taking care of itself if left undisturbed. It was a catch-all diagnosis given to women who had vaginal infections of unknown origin—not yeast infections or common STIs like chlamydia or trichomoniasis.

The mystery drew Hillier in. She knew she needed to stay in the field when, during one brainstorming session with mostly male colleagues, someone suggested that women with BV were sexually repressed or feeling sexual guilt. The Holmes lab did much of the early work to describe, and eventually name, BV. The protocol was to treat the infection first with the antibiotic metronidazole before giving other drugs for BV. They immediately substituted metronidazole into the study, and showed that it cleared up almost every case of BV.

Researchers can now catalogue entire bacterial communities, or microbiota, and begin to sort out what happens inside healthy vaginas and what goes awry in BV. They are realizing that all Lactobacillus bacteria—long thought to keep vaginas healthy—are not created equal. For some researchers, L. To confuse matters further, some of the vaginal villains deemed the culprits in BV, GardnerellaPrevotellaand Atopobiumhave been found in the vaginas of healthy women.

They found five different types of bacterial community. Four of these were dominated by different Lactobacillus species, but the fifth contained a diverse mix of microbes including GardnerellaSneathiaEggerthella, and Mobiluncus speciesmany of which have been associated with BV. For each ethnic group, there was one bacterial community that was by far the most common, present in roughly 40 percent or more of those women. For white women, it was the community dominated by L. Any women need a Virginia Beach on their clit Asian women, it was the one dominated by L.

For black and Hispanic women, it was the diverse one. These community differences may explain why black and Hispanic women have higher rates of BV. Ultimately, it probably comes down to the functions each bacterial species performs in the vagina with its mix of neighbors, he says.

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For one thing, young girls and post-menopausal women have much less acidic vaginas, which are still healthy. Inreproductive epidemiologist Jenifer Allsworth set out to determine just how many women in the U. At the time, that represented a staggering 19 million women. When Allsworth broke down the data by race, only 23 percent of white women were positive for BV, compared with nearly one-third of Mexican American women and over half of African American women.

Her analysis also showed that BV rates were higher in women whose education had stopped at or before high school, and in women whose family income was near or below the federal poverty level. The infection was much more common in women who had douched in the last six months—and, somewhat surprisingly, it was present in 15 percent of women who reported never having had sex. And, Allsworth notes, the work raises more questions than it answers: Have the women without a dominant Lactobacillus never had it or did they lose it somehow?

What is it about certain bacterial cocktail parties that create an advantage for BV? Another huge health inequality plays out across the Atlantic. As among African American women in the U. Many women in Africa practice traditional vaginal washing, deodorizing and tightening that, like douching, make BV more likely.

BV puts women at increased risk of both acquiring and transmitting HIV. For the past two decades, she and her collaborator Janneke van de Wijgert at the University of Liverpool have been searching for answers to vaginal ill-health in Africa.

This causes her body to ramp up its immune response in the vagina: It secretes inflammatory chemicals, summons immune cells—which also happen to be the cells that HIV targets—and sheds vaginal cells. Her mucus barrier becomes less viscous and breaks down.

Jespers says that, logically, it should. But there are too many confounding factors, including difficulties with diagnosing BV in rural areas and the high recurrence rate after using metronidazole to treat it. We are also learning from African women clues as to why BV is exacerbated by sex. Studies of whether circumcising men can reduce HIV risk have also revealed that circumcision lowers the recurrences of BV in their female partners.

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However, Cohen has found that treating men with metronidazole or even slathering their penises with alcohol hand gel before sex does not protect their partners from BV recurrences. The African studies leave researchers clamoring for better solutions for these women.

Inshe found that Rwandan sex workers with L. This bacterium may have even protected the clients of HIV-positive sex workers somewhat, because these women were also less likely to shed HIV in the vagina. Running with this idea, van de Wijgert is currently testing two vaginal probiotic products in Rwanda to see if they can prevent BV recurrences. Both products, capsules inserted into the vagina, are available over the counter in Europe. However, they contain Lactobacillus strains found in both the vagina and the intestine, some of which have a poor record of colonizing the vagina effectively.

In the U. He notes that very few women in Africa carry L. An effective, long-term cure for BV would be lifesaving for women and their children, he says. Cone has good reason to feel so passionate. Last year, with colleagues, they found that fresh mucus samples from 31 women varied greatly in their ability to trap HIV particles in the laboratory dish.

In some samples, the viral particles passed rapidly through a mucus layer as wide as that in the vagina, about eight hundredths of a millimeter. Not all mucus samples behaved the same. In others, the HIV particles were stuck tight, as if immobilized in gelatin—Lai and his colleagues calculated that some mucus could trap over 89 percent of virus particles.

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These sticky mucus samples had a higher level of D-lactate, a form of lactic acid produced not by humans but by certain bacteria. That hinted that mucus strength depends on the different vaginal bacterial residents. The one that stopped HIV in its tracks was dominated by L. The other two had low levels of D-lactate and let HIV slip right through—even though they contained other species of Lactobacillus, such as L. Gynecologists have long considered women with any Lactobacillus dominating their vaginal bacteria as healthy. But Lai says that women with L.

In other words, which Lactobacillus species a woman has in her vagina might mean the difference between HIV infection and protection. With such a low probability of transmission, finding ways to reduce virus flow to the vaginal walls by boosting the mucus barrier would effectively decrease HIV transmission, says Lai. More evidence that certain bacteria can alter vaginal mucus, leaving women vulnerable to infection, is coming from Washington University in St. There, microbiologist Amanda Lewis and her biochemist husband and research partner Warren Lewis have found that enzymes called sialidases in BV vaginal fluid can chew off the ends of an antibody component found in vaginal mucus.

Normally, this antibody acts a sentinel to recognize foreign invaders and flag them to the immune system. But the BV activity made the antibody more vulnerable to degradation. The Lewises have also shown that Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria produce sialidases, which trim off the ends of sugar molecules that decorate the surface of mucins, a key component of mucus. Amanda suspects that this degradation of antibodies and digestion of vaginal mucus leaves women with BV vulnerable to nastier infections.

Now, she and her colleague Nicole Gilbert will use a mouse model of Gardnerella infection, which shares several features of BV, to investigate whether this infection puts mice at risk of infections from Prevotella and group B Strep, which can cause uterine and placental infections in pregnant women. Uterine infections are a common cause of preterm birth, but little is known about how vaginal bacteria cross the mucus barriers that protect the uterus. Although preterm birth, defined as birth before 37 weeks of gestation, is the leading cause of infant death in the US, there are few answers about what triggers it or how to prevent it.

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One in ten babies born in the U. Louis 15 percent of babies arrive too early. Many of those born before 28 weeks who survive will have lifelong health issues such as chronic asthma, brain damage or blindness. The Lewises are determined to see that their experiments lead to better options for women. Hilary Renoan infectious-disease physician in St. Louis, thinks that her patients can, at times, feel almost punished for having certain diseases.

These diseases are often neglected in research, she says, and therefore have few effective treatments. She sees BV as a health inequality that piles onto the problems of an African American community that already faces higher rates of preterm birth and higher rates of certain STIs. She knows from studies that many African American women in her community struggle or know someone who struggles with BV and want to help find a better cure.

In initial studies, women found it easy and comfortable to use, and the L. It could also bring BV out of the shadows. Louis woman. It should be just like a yeast infection … not such a shameful issue. This article appears courtesy of Mosaic Science. Popular Latest. The Atlantic Crossword.

Any women need a Virginia Beach on their clit

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A gynaecologist's guide to good vulva and vagina health