Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Vaginal microbial flora in normal young women.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 02 June 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:1450

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. M J Goldacre,
  2. B Watt,
  3. N Loudon,
  4. L J Milne,
  5. J D Loudon,
  6. M P Vessey


    Vaginal swabs were taken from 1498 women attending a family planning clinic. The flora was assessed in the absence of any information about the women to whom the swabs related. Yeasts and fungi were present in 311 women (21%) and were no more prevalent among "pill" users than others. Candida albicans was significantly associated with vulval itching and with a vaginal discharge described as heavier than normal or curdy on clinical examination, though these abnormalities were present in only a minority of women with the organism. Trichomonas vaginalis was found in 14 women (1%) and was associated with abnormalities of vaginal discharge in all but one. Gram-negative anaerobic bacilli were significantly more common in women with a troublesome vaginal discharge and those who used an intrauterine device than others. No associations were found between fungi other than C albicans or the other bacteria sought and either symptoms or clinical abnormalities of vaginal discharge.