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Gynecol Obstet Invest. 1992;34(4):229-33.

Effects of chlorhexidine gluconate douche on normal vaginal flora.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Marshall University School of Medicine, Huntington, W. Va. 25701.


The effects of a 0.5% aqueous chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) douche on the normal vaginal flora of twenty healthy nonpregnant volunteers were investigated. The douche was applied in a premeasured 180-ml quantity daily for 7 consecutive days. Specimens for aerobic and anaerobic culture of the vaginal flora were obtained on 3 occasions from each volunteer, once before and twice after CHG use. The culture results were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. A blood sample was also collected within 24 h of the last CHG application to determine serum CHG concentration. Lactobacillus spp., Gardnerella vaginalis and Staphylococcus epidermidis were the most prevalent aerobic bacteria at all phases of the study and Bacteroides spp. were the most prevalent anaerobes. The composition of the normal flora was essentially the same 30 days after the last dose as the pretreatment flora. Small amounts of CHG were detected in the serum of all but one subject. No untoward effects on the participants were observed. Candida albicans counts were slightly higher, but prevalence was not significantly increased at the end of the study.

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