Normal vs Altered Vaginal Microflora – What’s The Difference

Most women don’t know much about vaginal microflora and its role in maintaining vaginal health.  Consequently, they aren’t aware that the healthy balance of the vagina can be disrupted, leading to altered vaginal microflora. But what’s the difference between normal vs altered vaginal microflora. 

Normal Vaginal Microflora

The normal vaginal microflora consists of different species of bacteria known as lactobacilli. These species should predominate the microbiome because the produce substances that sterilize the vagina, meaning they keep the bad bacteria at low levels so the do no harm. The lactobacilli are responsible for protecting the vagina against infections because they coat the surface of the vaginal lining, secrete hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid and a host of bacteriocins. These chemicals prevent the growth of harmful microbes, and maintain optimal pH levels.

Altered Vaginal Microflora

When the vaginal microflora is in an altered state, it means that the delicate balance between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria has been disrupted.  This causes harmful microbes in the vagina to multiply, leading to recurrent yeast or bacterial infections.

Symptoms of Altered Vaginal Microflora  

Symptoms of an altered vaginal microflora include itching, discharge, burning, odor, and urinary urgency and frequency.   These symptoms occur when secretions from the altered vaginal microflora bathe the vaginal tissues and irritate the external genital tissues.

Treating Altered Vaginal Microflora

Altered vaginal microflora is treated by restoring balance to the vaginal ecosystem, allowing the ‘good’ strains of bacteria to once again dominate.  However, the vaginal constituents must be evaluated to determine the type and concentration of microbes present.  This can be done using the Vaginal Fluid Analysis (VFA) test.  The VFA test is an advanced diagnostic tool that was developed by Dr. R. Stuart Fowler of Fowler GYN International. 

If you would like to learn more about vaginal microflora, contact Fowler GYN International at, or by calling (480) 420-4001.  FGI is located in Phoenix, AZ.

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