To control vaginitis, research is under way to determine the factors that promote the growth and disease-causing potential of vaginal microbes. This information could help improve efforts to treat and prevent vaginitis. No longer considered merely a harmless annoyance, vaginitis is the object of serious studies as scientists try to clarify its role in such conditions as pelvic inflammatory disease and pregnancy-related complications.
This research has uncovered important information about yeast’s reproductive behavior, which could lead the way to new treatments for yeast infections.
Additionally, researchers discovered an association between lactobacilli and protection from bacterial vaginitis (BV). They then developed a lactobacillus vaginal suppository that helps beneficial bacteria grow in the vagina. Researchers are now studying the use of vaginal lactobacilli suppositories with oral metronidazole to treat and prevent BV.
Other NIAID-funded researchers completed sequencing the genetic code of Trichomonas vaginalis. Scientists are beginning to understand its biology and to find new and innovative ways to prevent the disease it causes. Trichomonas vaginalis is also of particular interest to medical researchers because of its role in HIV transmission, infant morbidity, and the predisposition to cervical cancer.