US doctors are hoping to start offering women vaginal fluid transplants and have set up a programme to screen potential donors.
They believe some women could benefit from a dose of healthy vaginal microbes to protect against an infection called bacterial vaginosis (BV). The Johns Hopkins University team say they were inspired by the success of faecal or poo transplants. Although antibiotics can treat BV, it often comes back.
BV is not a sexually transmitted disease, despite being an infection. It’s quite common and women who have it may notice that they have an unusual discharge that has a strong fishy smell. The condition is not usually serious, but should be treated because having BV makes women more vulnerable to catching sexually transmitted infections and getting urinary infections.
If the woman is pregnant, it increases the risk of her having the baby early. A number of factors can raise vaginal pH and make BV more likely, including having sex (semen and saliva are slightly alkaline) and using douches or vaginal washes, as well as hormonal changes at particular times of the month during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
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