Vaginal bacteria around the world

So it turns out that every country has different normal vaginal bacteria which is very interesting indeed. This means that each of us will need different strains to repopulate our natural flora; this has implications for vaginal conditions on a country-specific basis.

It has been well-known for quite some time that women of African descent have different vaginal microflora than other women, with the most obvious aspect being that there are low numbers of lactobacilli, but other beneficial bacteria in their place. This is why women of African descent, including African American women (black women) get up to 50 per cent more BV than other women.

Indian women

Indian women, probably everywhere (because our vaginal microflora gets passed on to us from our mothers, and hers from her mother, etc.; it is not external.), have a predominance of:

  1. L. reuteri
  2. L. fermentum
  3. L. salivarius

Caucasian women

Caucasian (‘white’) women from Western countries have a similar set of microflora, consisting predominantly of:

  1. L. crispatus
  2. L. iners
  3. L. jensenii
  4. L. vaginalis
  5. L. gasseri
  6. L. vaginalis

Japanese women

Japanese women had similar vaginal flora to Caucasian women.

  1. L. crispatus
  2. L. iners
  3. L. jensenii
  4. L. gasseri


  • Garg et al, 2009, Spectrum of Lactobacillus species present in healthy vagina of Indian women
  • Jespers et al, 2012, Quantification of bacterial species of the vaginal microbiome in different groups of women, using nucleic acid amplification tests

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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)