Cervicovaginal Microbiomes-Threats and Possibilities
Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
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The microbiome of the vagina has universal traits that override race, diet, lifestyle, and socioeconomic status. While five community state types have been proposed, the actual number is likely closer to ten. Nevertheless, while lactobacilli dominate in health for most women, a highly diverse community or single pathogens are associated with morbidity. The fact that four or five Lactobacillus species are dominant in healthy women worldwide, raises questions of why they evolved in this niche, what they are doing, and how their apparent protective properties can be harnessed? This opinion article explores this universality, elements of lactobacilli that may imprint women's health and that of their offspring, and proposes key areas for future study.