Vaginal microbiome laboratory test

The vaginal microbiome, or microflora, is the collection of microorganisms, mainly bacteria and fungi, that live in the vagina. These microbes form a complex ecosystem and have an impact on human health. The vast majority of bacteria found in the vagina are not harmful, on the contrary, they play an important role in maintaining a healthy vaginal environment.

For most women, the vaginal microbiome is in balance when its diversity (biodiversity) is low. This means that it is made up of few bacterial species, typically Lactobacilli. Lactobacilli, which are lactic acid bacteria, have a variety of protective functions. They play a role in the prevention of many diseases affecting the urogenital (urinary) system, such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections and, presumably, even cancer.

The composition of the vaginal microbiome varies from person to person and over time. Conventional microbiological methods cannot determine the detailed microbiome composition, nor can changes associated with pathological conditions be studied. With the advent of modern analytical techniques such as PCR technology and next-generation sequencing, it is now possible to analyse bacteria, fungi and viruses at high resolution, identify specific species and isolate microbial community types.

This vaginal microbiome is not based on culture, but on molecular biology methods. It thus provides information on all microbiota in a unique way: in addition to a detailed composition of bacteria and fungi, it tests for the presence of a unicellular protozoan, Trichomonas vaginalis, and can detect viruses that affect vaginal health (HPV typing, HSV-1, HSV-2, EBV, MCV, HCMV, and adenoviruses).

It is difficult to distinguish between genital warts and herpes, as both occur in the genital area. Our test can distinguish between herpes and human papilloma virus infection. HPV is a very common group of viruses that do not cause problems in most people, but some types can cause genital warts or cancer. Our test identifies the serotypes of HPV that provide information about high or low risk types. Screening for the high-risk HPV types (16 and 18) that can cause cervical cancer is recommended if you are a woman at average risk between 30 and 65 years old.

Based on the composition of the bacteria that make up your vagina, your microbiome is classified into one of five general categories, known as the Community State Type. This information is important because the level of protection provided by beneficial bacteria and their effect on health varies depending on which Community State Type your vaginal microbiome falls into.

Last but not least, this vaginal microbiome test is the only test that provides a detailed analysis of the microbiome composition and can also detect various antibiotic resistance genes. Knowing the resistance genes gives gynaecologists a clue to treat potential problems with antibiotics to which resistance has not developed.