IUDs do not alter the vaginal microbiota


Do IUDs affect the composition of the vaginal microbiota, leading to an increased likelihood of developing certain infections? Researchers have an answer.


Contraceptive intrauterine devices (IUDs) are suspected to alter the vaginal microbiota, leading to an increase in the likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Researchers from the University of Michigan wanted to verify this hypothesis. They analyzed the vaginal microbiota of women using IUDs before, six months, and one year after the insertion of the IUD. Two kinds of IUD were studied: copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs. Analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA sequences from gynecological samples at the start of the study showed a predominance of the genus Lactobaccillus, associated to the commensal flora of healthy vaginal microbiota, divided into three groups according to the composition of the vaginal microbiota: one dominated by L. iners, one by L. crispatus, and lastly a third not dominated by either. The division was consistent in these patients after the insertion of the IUD and was not associated with a specific kind of IUD (copper or hormonal). Ultimately, the authors concluded that IUDs are unlikely to have an impact on the composition of the vaginal microbiota.


Bassis CM. Et al. Effects of intrauterine contraception on the vaginal microbiota. Contraception. 2017 Jun 15. pii: S0010-7824(17)30164-6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28624570