Vulvodynia, vulvar pain syndrome, is defined as vulvar pain of at least a 3-month duration without a clear identifiable cause, which may have associated factor and the etiology and treatment of this challenging disease is still unclear. Dyspareunia is a relevant symptom of patients with vulvodynia. Vaginal microbiome has known an important role in local immune-inflammatory responses and it may be important pathogenic mechanism in vulvodynia.
The objective of this study was to investigate the association of vaginal microbiome and vulvodynia.
We analyzed the microbial compositions of the vestibule and vagina among women with clinically diagnosed vulvodynia (n = 22) and age-matched healthy controls (n = 22) without vulvodynia. The compositions of bacterial microbiomes were compared by pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA.
Vaginal microbiome alpha and beta diversity were assessed using the Shannon diversity index and Heat map. Linear discriminant analysis effect size was used to find out marker for vulvodynia.
There were no significant differences in the age, duration of marriage, history of gynecologic surgery, parity, and menopause status between cases and controls. A total of 1,661,934 high-quality pyrosequencing reads was obtained to evaluate bacterial diversity, and 50,246 unique sequences represented all phylotypes. The type and mean number of the genera were not different between cases and controls. However, the most predominant phyla of bacteria were significantly different between cases and controls. 3 phyla (Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Tenericutes) and 11 genera including Gardnerella, Ureaplasma, Achromobacter, Mycoplasma, and Bifidobacteria were significantly more prevalent in cases than in controls (P < .05). Linear discriminant analysis effect size analysis suggest the Bifidobacterium, Mycoplasma, and Fenollaria species can be potential markers for vulvodynia.
Our results suggest the differences in vaginal microbiome can be associated with the vulvodynia. Park SY, Lee ES, Lee SR, et al. Vaginal Microbiome Is Associated With Vulvodynia, Vulvar Pain Syndrome: A Case-Control Study. Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX-XXX.

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