Please cite this paper as: Lamont R, Sobel J, Akins R, Hassan S, Chaiworapongsa T, Kusanovic J, Romero R. The vaginal microbiome: new information about genital tract flora using molecular based techniques. BJOG 2011;118:533–549.
Vaginal microbiome studies provide information that may change the way we define vaginal flora. Normal flora appears dominated by one or two species of Lactobacillus. Significant numbers of healthy women lack appreciable numbers of vaginal lactobacilli. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is not a single entity, but instead consists of different bacterial communities or profiles of greater microbial diversity than is evident from cultivation-dependent studies. BV should be considered a syndrome of variable composition that results in different symptoms, phenotypical outcomes, and responses to different antibiotic regimens. This information may help to elucidate the link between BV and infection-related adverse outcomes of pregnancy.