Vaginal Microbiome and Fertility
Are you worried that your vaginal health might be impacting your fertility or
The vaginal microbiome refers to the collection of microorganisms, including
bacteria, fungi and viruses that naturally inhabit the vaginal environment. These
microbial inhabitants play a crucial role in maintaining your intimate health.
New understandings in this area suggest that certain beneficial bacteria, such a
Lactobacillus species, dominate a balanced vaginal environment. These bacteria
produce lactic acid, creating an acidic environment in the vagina, which helps
maintain a balanced and protective microbial ecosystem.
What does a healthy vaginal microbiome look like?
- Neutral odour
- Discharge that is white, clear, slightly cloudy or egg white
- You shouldn’t feel discomfort
- pH: 3.6-4.5
If you are experiencing regular bouts of Thrush or Bacterial Vaginosis and are
self conscious about your vaginal discharge and odour chances are there is a
disruption to the balance of your intimate microbes making you more prone to
infections and disturbances.
Signs of vaginal microbiome imbalance
- Itching in vulval or vaginal tissues
- Discomfort or soreness of the vulva or vagina
- Odour changes- fishy, acidic, yeast, rotten/off smell
- Unusual discharge
- Regular bouts of UTI’s or vaginal infections
- Recurrent miscarriages
Vaginal dysbiosis can have huge impacts on the capacity for a couple to conceive
and has been linked to an increased risk of infertility, implantation failure,
miscarriages and pregnancy complications. Dysbiosis can also have a negative
impact on sperm by creating an unfavorable pH for sperm to survive the journey
through the vagina to fertilise an egg.
The vaginal microbiome may influence the success of assisted reproductive
technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Research suggests that
women with a healthy vaginal microbiome have better IVF outcomes compared
to those with dysbiosis. Vaginal dysbiosis can worsen inflammation, which can
aggravate endometriosis and Adenomyosis.
The vagina is one of the most permeable areas in the body and is heavily
influenced by your where you are in your cycle, intimate hygiene practices,
sexual health and partner, gut health, hormones, diet, lifestyle and stress.
How does TCM explain vaginal dybiosis?
For thousands of years woman has used Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture for
In TCM there are two diagnostic patterns that give rise to vaginal dysbiosis and
abnormal vaginal discharges
- Spleen Qi deficiency
An interesting study was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and
Alternative Medicine, examining vaginal discharges to differentiate between
Spleen Qi deficiency and Damp-heat patterns. They learned the Streptococcus
was the dominant microbiota in patients with Spleen Qi deficiency, while those
prone to Damp-heat have an overabundance of Prevotella.
Having your vaginal microbiome assessed can be a useful tool in optimizing your
fertility. It is quick, easy and can be done with an at home swab test. This
functional test differs to a vaginal swab that you would have done at a GP. A
vaginal microbiome offers a much more comprehensive insight to your intimate
health. As your practitioner we will provide a written report on the findings and
It is so important to understand and address any imbalances to the vaginal
microbiome before conception.
If this resonates with you, please get in touch.