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Gut Microbiome and Fertility

Gut Microbiome and Fertility

Recap then gut microbiome and fertility. The human microbiome consists of the microbes living on and within our human bodies. Most of these bugs inhabit our large intestine. There, a few pounds’ worth of bacteria, yeasts, archaea and even viruses. These help digest food, calibrate our metabolic and immune function and hold off would-be invaders.


There’s growing evidence that the pathogenic effects of bacterial vaginosis may not be confined to the lower genital tract.


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Most studied is how gut microbiota affects an individual’s risk of obesity and other metabolic conditions. In both men and women weight management plays a pivotal role in reproductive heath, pre conceptual care, without and throughout use assisted reproductive technologies.      Tweet This

Much more attention should be paid to the impact of obesity on fertility in both women and men. This appears to be particularly important for women before assisted reproductive technologies are used. Treatment of obesity may improve androgen imbalance and erectile dysfunction, the major causes of infertility in obese men.

Gut Microbiome and Fertility

Gut Microbiome and Fertility


Female Fertility – The Vaginal Microbiome

A special subset is the vaginal microbiome. The vaginal microbiome inhabits the vagina and successful reproduction, as it turns out, owes an immense debt to this microbial community.

A healthy vaginal microbiome produces lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. These maintain a level of acidity that keeps troublemaking microbes at bay. When the vaginal community becomes unbalanced, on the other hand, acidity decreases. The wrong microbes may then invade or, if they’re already present, bloom. How does this happen?


The Role Of The Vaginal Microbiome In Fertility – Reproductive Health & Beyond

This disturbance can cause bacterial vaginosis—not really an infection, but an out-of-whack ecosystem. It sounds like a trifling problem, and half of women with vaginosis may display no obvious symptoms. But this minor-seeming imbalance can have major consequences.

Vaginosis increases the risk of contracting secondary infections, from herpes to HIV. But even on its own, the microbial shift may prompt low-grade inflammation that can derail reproduction. It can prevent fertilisation in would-be mothers, prompt spontaneous abortion in pregnant women, and increase the risk of preterm birth later in pregnancy.

Many factors affect the vaginal ecosystem—smoking, stress, diet, the number of sexual partners, and obesity. One of the most direct ways to upset the vaginal microbiome may be douching.


The Role Of The Vaginal Microbiome In Fertility – Bacterial Vaginosis & Miscarriage

The consequences of bacterial vaginosis can be devastating. In a study of 1,950 urban women in Philadelphia, for example, vaginosis in the first trimester more than doubled the risk of spontaneous pregnancy loss in the second. In Belgium, vaginosis more than quintupled the risk of early preterm birth.

Vaginosis-related microbes have been implicated in roughly one-quarter of all preterm births. For the most vulnerable group of children, those born extremely preterm, or before 25 weeks, the number perhaps doubles.
Studies in Kuopio Finland by this Finnish group have since replicated the finding among 15-to-17-year-olds, implying that the consequences of prenatal inflammation persist into adolescence and probably adulthood.

Does the vaginal microbiome play a role in IVF?

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Influence of bacterial vaginosis on in-vitro fertilisation and embryo implantation during assisted reproduction treatment.

Although an altered vaginal microbiota has been demonstrated to affect parturition, its role in assisted reproductive technologies is uncertain.
Clinical findings suggest that routine screening for bacterial vaginosis in the hope of improving the success of IVF treatment is not justified. The prevention of complications in pregnancy associated with bacterial vaginosis might be a more relevant indication for screening at the time of IVF treatment, in particular patients with tubal disease, if treatment were shown to be effective for that particular purpose. However, antibiotic treatment before IVF has been shown to be positively disadvantageous for IVF by encouraging other organisms.



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