Study: BV and Mycoplasma species – are they bunking together?

Is there an association between bacterial vaginosis (BV) and Mycoplasma hominis infection? Yes.

The study

A group of 130 women were studied, with 28 with BV, 22 with intermediate flora, and 80 non-BV women.

Results

Prevalence of Gardnerella vaginalis and Mycoplasma species were evaluated using qPCR testing. Species include Ureaplasma parvum, Mycoplasma hominis, U. urealyticum and M. genitalium.

M. hominis had a significantly higher prevalence across all three groups of women and had a significant trend that increased from non-BV (11 per cent incidence) to intermediate flora (36 per cent) to confirmed BV cases (61 per cent).

There was no other statistically significant association with other bacteria.

Co-infections with G. vaginalis

  • M. hominis co-infection with G. vaginalis was significantly associated with BV
  • U. parvum and G. vaginalis co-infections were higher in women with BV (79 per cent) compared to non-BV (46 per cent)
  • There were no significant associations across G. vaginalis, U. urealyticum and M. genitalium

Bacterial load in the three groups of women

  • G. vaginalis loads significantly increased upwards from non-BV to confirmed BV results.
  • M. hominis loads significantly increased between the three groups of women from non-BV up to confirmed BV
  • U. urealyticum, U. parvum and M. genitalium loads did not show significant differences between the three groups of women
  • M. hominis and G. vaginalis in dual infections showed a significant positive correlation
  • Other bacteria showed no correlation with G. vaginalis

Conclusions

The researchers note that there appears to be a synergistic growth tigger between G. vaginalis and M. hominis.

Take-homes? Get PCR tested if you have BV.

References

Cox C, Watt AP, McKenna JP, Coyle PV. Mycoplasma hominis and Gardnerella vaginalis display a significant synergistic relationship in bacterial vaginosis. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2016;35(3):481-487. doi:10.1007/s10096-015-2564-x



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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
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