A recent BBC article discussed a new trend in transplants, and this particular one is only for women. Doctors in the US believe some women could benefit from healthy vaginal microbes to protect against bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is an infection that causes unusual vaginal discharge with a strong smell that makes women more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections and urinary tract infections. It’s caused by a change in the balance of bacteria in the vagina affected by diet, lifestyle, and certain types of medication.
To combat BV, doctors are looking to recalibrate the microbiomes of vaginas by introducing healthy bacteria from donors. Through testing, they’ve found that ideal donors have high levels of bacterium called Lactobacillus crispatus, which tend to have a higher protective lactic acid content and lower pH. Donors will be asked to abstain from sex for at least 30 days before giving a self-collected sample. The samples will be tested for infections, including HIV, to prevent passing them on to the recipient.