A new study says that women appear to have a natural defense against the world’s most common sexually transmitted infection. This natural protective barrier consists mainly of lactic acid bacteria called lactobacilli.
The finding appeared online on May 29 in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
According to a journal news release. This discovery could lead to new treatments for “Trich,” which affects an estimated 174 million women and men around the world each year.
A parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis or T. vaginalis causes Trich. Symptoms of the infection include pain, irritation, and discharge. However, about 50 percent of all people who have this condition don’t develop symptoms. Moreover, patients are unaware of the fact that they are infected.
Researchers Augusto Simoes-Barbosa, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, examined this case. They studied how easily three different strains of T. vaginalis bound to vaginal cells. In addition, they repeated the process when nine different types of lactobacilli were also present.
In most instances, lactobacilli prevented the parasite from binding to the cells. The study authors pointed out that some types of lactobacilli were better at preventing the parasite from binding to the cells than others.
This study reinforces the important role that our microbiomes play in health, infection, and disease. They wrote:
Understanding the role that Lactobacillus plays in T. vaginalis infection/disease might reveal new therapeutic approaches. Which include taking advantage of the natural probiotic activity of lactobacilli.
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