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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986 Mar;154(3):520-4.

Bacterial flora of the cervix in women using different methods of contraception.


Bacteriologic culture samples were taken from the cervix in three groups of 10 healthy, sexually active women using barrier contraception, oral contraceptives, or a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine contraceptive device. Culture samples for Candida albicans and Trichomonas vaginalis were taken, a cytologic vaginal smear was obtained, and an amine sniff test was performed; these were in addition to a routine gynecologic examination. Multiple bacteria were isolated from the cervix in women using oral contraceptives or an intrauterine contraceptive device, whereas lactobacilli alone dominated the flora of women using barrier contraception. Significantly more anaerobic bacteria were isolated from the cervix in oral contraceptive and intrauterine contraceptive device users when compared with the barrier method users. Symptoms and findings evident of anaerobic vaginosis were associated with the occurrence of anaerobic bacteria in the cervix of three patients using the intrauterine contraceptive device. The results showed that the cervical bacterial flora in sexually active healthy women is rich in anaerobes that can be regarded as a normal finding in women using oral contraceptives or intrauterine contraceptive devices. Barrier contraception with a condom prevents this anaerobic shift and maintains a lactobacilli-dominated flora in the cervix.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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