Recent studies have demonstrated an association linking the cervicovaginal microbiome with susceptibility to infectious diseases and overall cervical health. We aimed to evaluate the effect of contraceptive methods used by Hispanic females living in Puerto Rico on their cervical microbiome.
An analysis of 85 women, aged 21–45, grouped by the contraceptive method used at time of sampling, was performed. The methods included birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), injectable progesterone, male condoms, and female sterilization. The control group did not use any contraception. Swabs collected from the posterior fornix underwent DNA extraction and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, being characterized for microbial diversity, and taxonomic composition. IRB approval was obtained.
Women using male condoms or sterilization had the highest microbiome richness, and those using IUDs and female sterilization had the highest microbiome diversity. Birth control pills and male condoms had the least effect on the microbiota as participants had a dominance of Lactobacillus. Injectable progesterone and IUDs use were associated with increased levels of Gardnerella. The IUDs group has a noticeable presence of Clostridium when compared to other groups. The female sterilization group is copious in Atopobium and Streptococcus. The injectable progesterone group has an elevated abundance of Megasphaera.
Preliminary analyses indicate that contraceptive methods may affect the cervicovaginal microbiome, injectable progesterone and IUDs being the methods most associated with vaginal dysbiosis. These findings allow information about the microbiome of Hispanic women living in Puerto Rico to guide further investigations that could contribute to better gynecologic care.