In society, we often talk about the microflora of the gut, and the role it plays in our overall health and well-being. But did you know that there’s a thing called vaginal microbiome as well? And that it's role is just as important? If not, you're not the one to blame.

There’s no shame in the things you don’t know. We're here to help you get there, by raising awareness and by creating a culture of empowered consent. The overall education about vaginal microbiome and the impact it has on women’s lives is far from what it should be. Very little research has been conducted into the subject, and we wish the reason wasn’t yet another gender gap, but let's face it – it's the truth.

To put it simply, vaginal microbiome is the community of microbes that live within the vagina. It’s made up of alot of helpful bacteria and other microbes and it plays a huge role in our overall health. There are a lot of different types of bacteria that make up your vaginal microbiome, the most important is called Lactobacilli. Lactobacilli helps power the vagina’s natural defense by helping to keeping an acidic state, ideally with a pH between 3.8 - 4.5. This helps to create an environment that limits the growth of harmful microbes. You know how the vagina is self-cleaning? That’s all thanks to Lactobacilli. 

This is also the reason why you are more likely to experience vaginal infections such as thrush, urinary tract infections and bacterial vaginosis when your vaginal microbiome is out of balance. The imbalance creates opportunity for bad microbes to thrive. It can cause symptoms like itching, discomfort and a fishy odor, but is usually treated easily with antibiotics. 

Almost every person with a vagina will at some stage in their lives experience some of these symptoms. But some are more likely to experience recurrent infections than others. Just like fingerprints, each vaginal microbiota is unique. The vaginal microbiome is shaped and influenced by a lot of things, such as hormones, environmental factors, pregnancy, antibiotic use and immune function.

The vaginal microbiome is a complex system and its functionality depends on a number of factors. We often impact this system without even knowing. At DUSK, we envision a world where everyone who owns a vagina is in control of their vaginal microbiome, and their vaginal health in general.

It is important to note that this blogpost isn't intended to diagnose or treat any disease. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice, it's meant for information purposes only. Every body is different and as a result, your vaginal health will only ever be normal for you. Consult your doctor or gynecologists if you're worried that's somethings wrong down there, or if you experience anything abnormal. 

Notes and references:

Brouillette, Monique. (2020, February): Decoding the Vaginal Microbiome. Scientific American.
Cassano, Liv. (2019, May): Meet Your Vaginal Microbiome And The Bacteria In Your Vagina. Your Daye.
Hawrelak, Jason. (2018, May): What Is A “Leaky Vagina”? And Why We Should Care About It. Probiotic Advisor.

Keilhofer, L. (2020, March): The Vaginal Microbiome – A Hidden Cosmos. My Microbiome.
Lewis, Felicia M. T. & Bernstein, Kyle T. (2017, April): Vaginal Microbiome and Its Relationship to Behavior, Sexual Health, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 129 (Issue 4), p. 643-654.
Petrova, G. M. (2019, August): Vaginal Microbiome: The Cornerstone For Women’s Health. My Microbiome.