Researchers followed 99 women between the ages of 18 and 45 who were being treated for bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common gynecological complaint that infects up to 50 percent of women in some populations. BV is characterized by an increase in vaginal alkalinity and substitution of certain beneficial bacteria, particularly those that produce hydrogen peroxide, with more toxic bacteria. Among the infection's more prominent symptoms is a milky, foul-smelling discharge.
"Symptoms of discharge are one of the most common reasons women visit a gynecologist," said Sharon Hillier, Ph.D., professor in the departments of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and molecular genetics and biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and senior author of the study. "For years, clinicians have thought of BV infection as a minor problem, but studies have shown that women who have BV are more likely to get herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV."
For the antibiotic-resistance study, investigators traced the frequency and median concentrations of vaginal microbes from women with BV before and after treatment with vaginal preparations of clindamycin or metronidazole, according to Richard Beigi, M.D., a former fellow in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who now is with MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, and the study's first author. Dr. Beigi was part of the Ma