A healthy vaginal microbiome is characterized by abundance of H2O2 producing lactobacilli. Absence of, or low concentrations of vaginal lactobacilli have been associated with the development of bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common vaginal infection. Risk factors well-known for disturbing the vaginal microbial balance are; unprotected sexual activity, smoking, vaginal showers, presence of sexual transmitted infections, and ethnicity. However, whether the association between ethnicity and vaginal microbiome composition is based on sociodemographic, behavioural, environmental of genetic factors is still not clear.
A recently published study investigated whether ethnicity is independently associated with vaginal microbiome. For this, the researchers analysed vaginal swabs from women representing the six largest ethnic groups in Amsterdam (Dutch, African Surinamese South-Asian Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Ghanaian).