Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Sexual Conditions Health Center

Font Size

Women May Have Natural Defense Against Common STD

'Trich' causes discomfort for some, but is symptomless in others

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- Women appear to have a natural defense against the world's most common sexually transmitted infection, a new study says.

This natural protective barrier consists mainly of lactic acid bacteria -- called lactobacilli.

The finding appears online May 29 in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The discovery could lead to new treatments for "trich," which affects an estimated 174 million women and men around the world each year, according to a journal news release.

Trich is caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis or T. vaginalis. Symptoms of the infection include pain, irritation and discharge. About 50 percent of all people who have this condition, however, don't develop symptoms and are unaware that they are infected.

Researchers Augusto Simoes-Barbosa, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues examined how easily three different strains of T. vaginalis bound to vaginal cells. They repeated the process when nine different types of lactobacilli were also present.

In the vast majority of instances, lactobacilli prevented the parasite from binding to the cells. Some types of lactobacilli were better at preventing the parasite from binding to the cells than others, the study authors pointed out.

"This study reinforces the important role that our microbiomes play in health, infection and disease," they wrote. "Understanding the role that Lactobacillus plays in T. vaginalis infection/disease might reveal new therapeutic approaches, which include taking advantage of the natural probiotic activity of lactobacilli."

Today on WebMD

Sex Drive Killers 03
Slideshow
couple holding hands
Quiz
 
Couple in bed
Article
Condom Quiz
Quiz
 

HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
STD Overview
Slideshow
 
Man tearing a condom packet
Quiz
things your guy wish you knew slideshow
Slideshow
 

Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Quiz
Girls Puberty 10
Quiz
 
Couple in bed
Article
Young couple holding hands
Quiz
 

WebMD Special Sections