Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is an insidious infection that afflicts a large proportion of women of all ages, and 5 to 8% of affected women experience recurrent VVC (RVVC). The aim of this study was to explore the possible importance of vaginal bacterial communities in reducing the risk of RVVC. The species composition and diversity of microbial communities were evaluated for 42 women with and without frequent VVC based on profiles of terminal restriction fragment polymorphisms of 16S rRNA genes and phylogenetic analysis of cloned 16S rRNA gene sequences from the numerically dominant microbial populations. The data showed that there were no significant differences between the vaginal microbial communities of women in the two groups (likelihood score, 5.948; bootstrap P value, 0.26). Moreover, no novel bacteria were found in the communities of women with frequent VVC. The vaginal communities of most women in both groups (38/42; 90%) were dominated by species of Lactobacillus. The results of this study failed to provide evidence for the existence of altered or unusual vaginal bacterial communities in women who have frequent VVC compared to women who do not have frequent VVC. The findings suggest that commensal vaginal bacterial species may not be able to prevent VVC.
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