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Highlights of the conference

Women and their Microbes

On June 2, academics, clinicians and industry interested in women’s health from all over the world gathered in Amsterdam for the third edition of ‘Women and their microbes’. Seven international microbiome experts were invited to walk the audience through the entire women from head to toe, including the oral cavity, skin, breast, gut, bladder, vagina, estrobiome, and the elusive male factor, the penile microbiome.

We will share some of the most outstanding findings that were discussed during this conference; how oral health is connected to the placenta mirobiota and the use of probiotic bacteria to treat mastitis. 

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Oral health influences the foetus

The oral microbiome does not only affect oral health, but might even influence pregnancy and its outcomes. The placenta harbours a microbiome similar to the oral cavity, and it is expected that the placental microbiome aids in training the foetal immune system in recognizing ‘friend or foe’. This training could lead to early tolerance of the foetus to commensal oral bacterial species and might play a key role in the colonization of the mouth and gastro-intestinal tract of the new born. How these bacteria reach the foetus? Pregnant women are known to have increased bleeding gums and by opening the vascular bed, oral bacteria from the mother may enter the bloodstream and gain access to the placenta. Thus, foetal tolerance towards commensal microbiota might already start during pregnancy, and the oral microbiota of the mother could be responsible for this!     




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The breast microbiome and its role in mastitis

Unfortunately, between 5% and 33% of lactating mothers suffer from mastitis, an inflammation of the mammary gland and the main medical cause of premature weaning. Mastitis is associated with a less diverse microbiota with a higher total number of bacteria, mainly belonging to Staphylococcus. Many of them are resistant to antibiotics and thus other strategies to treat mastitis are required. The use of probiotics may be an alternative way to treat mastitis, specifically the bacteria isolated from breast milk. Clinical trials with isolated breast milk bacteria have shown that these probiotic bacteria are an efficient alternative for the treatment of infectious mastitis during lactation. In addition, a recent clinical trial showed that probiotics could be used as a prophylactic tool to reduce the incidence of mastitis. 





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The international microbiome experts highlighted the fact that the female microbiome is diverse from head to toe, within and between women. Both intrinsic and extrinsic fators can influence the microbial composition of these niches. 

Improving and sharing our understandings of the woman's microbiome and its extra-microbial and external influences will help to move this field foreword and impact women's health. The organizing committee of Women and their Microbes is working on a comprehenisve summary of the conference. We will keep you updated when this informationis available!








Probiotics aid in relieving constipation

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