List of microbiota species of the lower reproductive tract of women

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Candida albicans

This is the list of healthy vaginal microbiota (VMB), which is defined as the group of species and genera that generally are found to have lack of symptoms, absence of various infections, and result in good pregnancy outcomes.[1] VMB is dominated mainly by Lactobacillus species. This is the list of organisms that are found in the lower reproductive tract of sexually mature women who are not immunocompromised. A partial description of pathogens that can be found in the lower and upper reproductive tract of women can be found in the article sexually transmitted disease. The organisms listed below are capable of causing illness if for some reason there is a change in vaginal pH or a change in the ratio of one organism to another. For example, Candida is a normal inhabitant of a healthy reproductive tract but an overgrowth of this organism can cause candidiasis.[2][3][4]

Normal microbiota[edit]

This is the list of the normal flora that are found in the lower reproductive tract of sexually mature women who exhibit no symptoms of illness and who are not immunocompromised. Lactobacilli predominate.[4][5][6] These organisms protect against infection. Vaginal microbiota composition may have a genetic component.[3]


Lactobacillus acidophilus
Staphylococcus epidermidis 01
Enterococcus faecalis
Genus species Gram stain form genome sequenced reference
Peptostreptococcus spp. + cocci [2][4]
Clostridium spp. + bacillus [2][4][7]
Lactobacillus spp. + bacillus [2][5][7]
Lactobacillus acidophilus + bacillus X [2][5][8][9]
Lactobacillus crispatus + bacillus [1][5][7][8]
Lactobacillus johnsonii + bacillus X [7][9]
Lactobacillus sakei + bacillus X [9]
Lactobacillus bulgaris + bacillus X [9]
Lactobacillus jensenii + bacillus [5][7][8]
Lactobacillus rhamnosus + bacillus [8]
Lactobacillus reuteri + bacillus [8]
Lactobacillus Lactobacillus casei var rhamnosus + bacillus [1][8]
Lactobacillus gasseri + bacillus [5][8]
Lactobacillus fermentum + bacillus [8]
Lactobacillus iners + bacillus [1][5]
Lactobacillus helveticus + bacillus [5][8]
Lactobacillus leichmannii + bacillus [8]
Lactobacillus brevis + bacillus [8]
Lactobacillus plantarum + bacillus X [1][8][9]
Lactobacillus delbrueckii + bacillus [8]
Lactobacillus vaginalis + bacillus [1]
Lactobacillus salivarius + bacillus X [1][9]
Lactobacillus coleohominis + bacillus [1]
Lactobacillus pentosus + bacillus [1]
Propionibacterium spp. + bacillus [2][4]
Eubacterium spp. + bacillus [2]
Bifidobacterium spp. + bacillus [2]
Prevotella spp. - bacillus [2]
Bacteroides spp. - bacillus [2][7]
Bacteroides fragilis - bacillus [2]
Fusobacterium spp. - bacillus [2]
Veillonella spp. - cocci [2]
Diphtheroids spp. + bacillus [2]
Actinomycetales spp. [7]


These bacteria may be detected as transients or are marginally discernable with PCR techniques. They are also opportunistic pathogens and their overgrowth is considered an infection though symptoms and signs may be absent.

Escherichia coli (257 06) Gramnegative rods
Genus species Gram stain form reference
Staphylococcus aureus + cocci [2]
Staphylococcus epidermidis + cocci [2]
Group B Streptococcus spp. + cocci [2][7]
Enterococcus faecalis spp. + cocci [2]
Staphylococcus spp. + cocci [2]
Actinomyces israelii + bacillus [2]
Actinomyces neuii + bacillus [1]
Escherichia coli - bacillus [2]
Klebsiella spp. - bacillus [2]
Proteus spp. - bacillus [2]
Enterobacter spp. - bacillus [2]
Acinetobacter spp. - bacillus [2]
Citrobacter spp. - bacillus [2]
Pseudomonas spp. - bacillus [2]

While the vaginal microbiota is populated predominantly by Lactobacillus spp. in 71% of women, 29% of asymptomatic, healthy women possess a microbiota essentially lacking in Lactobacillus and instead the following groups have been isolated from this population. This microbiota is affiliated with ethnicity:

Genus species Gram stain form reference
Aerococcus spp. cocci [3]
Atopobium spp. bacillus [3]
Dialister spp. bacillus [3]
Eggerthella spp. bacillus [3]
Finegoldia spp. [3]
Gardnerella spp. coccobacilli [3]
Megasphaera spp. [3]
Mobiluncus spp. bacillus [3]
Peptoniphilus spp. [3]
Prevotella spp. [3]
Sneathia spp. [3]


Candida albicans and other spp.[2]

Microbiota changes[edit]

Pre-pubescent girls, women in menarche, and postmenopausal women have lower populations of Lactobacillus spp. in proportion to the other species. Hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women restores the microbiota to that of a reproductive-aged woman. The microbiota populations change in response to the menstrual cycle. Pregnancy alters the microbiota, with a reduction in species/genus diversity.[3] Overgrowth of Candida albicans or other Candida (yeast infections) sometimes occurs after antibiotic therapy.[2] Bacterial vaginosis results in altered populations and ratios of the normal microbiota.[10][3][11] There has been no link demonstrated between taking oral probiotics and maintaining normal microbiota populations of lactobacilli.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Petrova, Mariya I.; Lievens, Elke; Malik, Shweta; Imholz, Nicole; Lebeer, Sarah (2015). "Lactobacillus species as biomarkers and agents that can promote various aspects of vaginal health". Frontiers in Physiology. 6: 81. doi:10.3389/fphys.2015.00081. ISSN 1664-042X. PMC 4373506. PMID 25859220.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Hoffman, Barbara (2012). Williams gynecology, 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. p. 65. ISBN 978-0071716727.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Clark, Natalie; Tal, Reshef; Sharma, Harsha; Segars, James (2014). "Microbiota and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease". Seminars in Reproductive Medicine. 32 (1): 043–049. doi:10.1055/s-0033-1361822. ISSN 1526-8004. PMC 4148456. PMID 24390920.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Senok, Abiola C; Verstraelen, Hans; Temmerman, Marleen; Botta, Giuseppe A; Senok, Abiola C (2009). "Probiotics for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (4): CD006289. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006289.pub2. PMID 19821358.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Nardis, C.; Mastromarino, P.; Mosca, L. (September–October 2013). "Vaginal microbiota and viral sexually transmitted diseases". Annali di Igiene. 25 (5): 443–56. doi:10.7416/ai.2013.1946. PMID 24048183.
  6. ^ Lamont, RF; Sobel, JD; Akins, RA; Hassan, SS; Chaiworapongsa, T; Kusanovic, JP; Romero, R (2011). "The vaginal microbiome: new information about genital tract flora using molecular based techniques". BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 118 (5): 533–549. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02840.x. ISSN 1470-0328. PMC 3055920. PMID 21251190.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Bennett, John (2015). Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's principles and practice of infectious diseases. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier/Saunders. ISBN 9781455748013; Access provided by the University of PittsburghCS1 maint: postscript (link)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ratner, Adam J.; Aagaard, Kjersti; Riehle, Kevin; Ma, Jun; Segata, Nicola; Mistretta, Toni-Ann; Coarfa, Cristian; Raza, Sabeen; Rosenbaum, Sean; Van den Veyver, Ignatia; Milosavljevic, Aleksandar; Gevers, Dirk; Huttenhower, Curtis; Petrosino, Joseph; Versalovic, James (2012). "A Metagenomic Approach to Characterization of the Vaginal Microbiome Signature in Pregnancy". PLOS ONE. 7 (6): e36466. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...736466A. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036466. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3374618. PMID 22719832.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Fijan, Sabina (2014). "Microorganisms with Claimed Probiotic Properties: An Overview of Recent Literature". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 11 (5): 4745–4767. doi:10.3390/ijerph110504745. ISSN 1660-4601. PMC 4053917. PMID 24859749.
  10. ^ Campisciano, Giuseppina; Zanotta, Nunzia; Licastro, Danilo; De Seta, Francesco; Comar, Manola (December 2018). "In vivo microbiome and associated immune markers: New insights into the pathogenesis of vaginal dysbiosis". Scientific Reports. 8 (1): 2307. Bibcode:2018NatSR...8.2307C. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-20649-x. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 5797242. PMID 29396486.
  11. ^ Brotman, Rebecca M. (2011). "Vaginal microbiome and sexually transmitted infections: an epidemiologic perspective". Journal of Clinical Investigation. 121 (12): 4610–4617. doi:10.1172/JCI57172. ISSN 0021-9738. PMC 3225992. PMID 22133886.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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