Cervicitis is an inflammation of the uterine cervix of women. This condition is known to be associated with many different infections, such as Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae, however the true cause of the inflammation is still unclear. Researchers in Seattle, Washington performed a study, recently published by the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, to determine whether it is an imbalance of the vaginal and/or cervical microbiome that is at the root of the problem. The study’s aim was to look at the associations of bacteria with cervicitis in two different groups of women, to see if the results of each group agree.
At a clinic in Seattle, vaginal and cervical samples were collected from a group of predominantly young white women that agreed to the study. Of the 210 women from the clinic, only 14 were identified as having cervicitis based on certain identification criteria. A parallel control study was performed in Mombasa, Kenya with the hopes that the gathered information would either refute or confirm the results of the Seattle group. The Seattle results showed that women with cervicitis were more likely to have Mageeibacillus indolicus in the cervix and vagina than women without the condition. The bacteria Lactobacillus jensenii was the only species that was more present in women without than with cervicitis.
The Kenyan study did not show that M. indolicus was more present in women with cervicitis. In fact, the bacterium was more common in women without the condition. While the results of this study are confusing, because the Kenyan study seems to disprove the results of the Seattle study, it important to keep in mind the flaws of this study as a whole. There were many factors not taken into consideration during analysis, such as birth control intake and viral infections. Additionally, the criteria of cervicitis diagnosis were most-likely different in Seattle and Kenya, and there were very few women in the study that even had the condition. Regardless of the flaws, this study still gave good results which could lead scientists too look further into M. indolicus and L. jensenii for their contribution to cervical health.