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Colonization of the rectum by Lactobacillus species and decreased risk of bacterial vaginosis.

  • 2005-08
  • The Journal of Infectious Diseases 192(3)
    • M. Antonio
    • L. Rabe
    • S. Hillier


Lactobacilli colonizing the rectum may be a reservoir for vaginal lactobacilli. In a cross-sectional study of 531 females, vaginal and rectal colonization by lactobacilli were assessed by culture methods. A subset of isolates was identified to the species level by use of whole-chromosomal DNA probes. Lactobacillus crispatus (16%), L. jensenii (10%), and L. gasseri (10%) were the prevalent lactobacilli colonizing the rectums of 290 females. Only 13 (9%) of 147 females colonized by L. crispatus or L. jensenii vaginally and/or rectally had bacterial vaginosis (BV), compared with 12 (44%) of 27 females colonized by other H(2)O(2)-producing lactobacilli (P < .001). Cocolonization of the vagina and rectum by H(2)O(2)-producing lactobacilli was associated with the lowest prevalence of BV (5%), whereas females colonized only vaginally, only rectally, or at neither site had a successively increased risk of BV (P < .001). Lactobacillus species in the rectum may contribute to the maintenance of vaginal microflora.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus jensenii LBV 116Reduced Risk of Bacterial VaginosisBeneficial
Lactobacillus jensenii LJe52Reduced Risk of Bacterial VaginosisBeneficial
Lactobacillus jensenii VPro 32Reduced Prevalence of Bacterial VaginosisBeneficial
Lactobacillus jensenii VPro 32Reduced Risk of Bacterial VaginosisBeneficial
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