Clinical Edge

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Vaginal Microbiota & Contraception Use

Contraception; ePub 2017 Jun 14; Bassis, et al

Intrauterine contraception does not alter the vaginal microbiota composition and is unlikely to shift the composition of the vaginal microbiota such that infection susceptibility is altered, a recent study found. DNA was isolated from the vaginal swab samples of 76 women using a copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD, n=36) or a levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS, n=40) collected prior to insertion of intrauterine contraception at 6 months. A third swab from ~12 months following insertion was available for 69 of the women. Researchers found:

  • The vaginal microbiota clustered into 3 major vaginal bacterial community types: 1 dominated by Lactobacillus iners, 1 by Lactobacillus crispatus, and 1 community type that was not dominated by a single Lactobacillus species.
  • Changes in the vaginal bacterial community composition were not associated with the use of Cu-IUD or LNG-IUS.
  • No clear difference in vaginal microbiota stability with Cu-IUD vs LNG-IUS use was observed.


Bassis CM, Allsworth JE, Wahl HN, Sack DE, Young VB, Bell JD. Effects of intrauterine contraception on the vaginal microbiota. [Published online ahead of print June 14, 2017]. Contraception. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2017.05.017.