Microbial adhesion to biomaterials and infections of the urogenital tract
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
URL with Digital Object Identifier
The urogenital microflora of a healthy woman comprises ≈50 species of organisms, which differ in composition according to reproductive stages and exposure to several factors, including antibiotics and spermicides. Infections are very common with >300 million cases of urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast vaginitis worldwide per annum. At the time of infection in the bladder and vagina, the urogenital flora is often dominated by the infecting pathogens, in contrast with healthy phases when indigenous organisms dominate. Premenopausal women have a flora of mostly lactobacilli, and certain properties of these strains, including adhesive ability and production of acids, bacteriocins, hydrogen peroxide, and biosurfactants, appear important in conferring protection to the host. Efforts to artificially restore an unbalanced flora with the use of probiotics have met with mixed results but research aimed at selecting scientifically based strains could well provide a reliable alternative treatment and preventive regimen to antibiotics in the future.