How Does Sex Change...Your Vagina

The question is posed: why do women get bacterial changes in their vagina? Is it luck? Is it diet? Is it having sex? Is it having oral sex? Is it using condoms? At the University of Washington they asked this question, what happens when a college female begins to have sex, are there changes in the number of bacteria in the vagina? Can these changes translate into more bacterial infections? They enrolled about 250 virgins, and at then end of the study period about 2/3s had already begun to have sexual intercourse. They cultured their vaginas at the start of the study, and at the endo of the study. We do know that there is day to day variation, and some variation by cycle day as to how many bacteria are present in the vagina. At the start of the study no one had bacterial infections, so it is linked with sex. But only a few developed bacterial infections after sex. Interestingly, there really wasn't much change between the group that had sex and the group that still hadn't had sex. However, in the group that did develop bacterial vaginosis (bacterial infection) they got HPV infections first, about 6-8 months earlier on average. Bacterial infections are linked to sex, and having sex can change the bacteria in a woman's vagina. It may be that it takes more than just initially becoming sexually active to get those bacterial changes in the vagina to be more permanent. So the study shows that the way sex changes your vagina is more complex than we have untangled so far!

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