Personal Lubricant Use and Bacterial Vaginosis: Does Race Matter? Público

Cowan, Alison Anne Dormer (2010)

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Personal Lubricant Use and Bacterial Vaginosis:

Does Race Matter?

By Alison Cowan

Background: Bacterial vaginosis is an extremely common disruption in the vaginal flora with important public health consequences. Known risk factors for bacterial vaginosis include race, sexual activity, and douching, among others. There is very little published in the literature regarding the association of personal lubricants and bacterial vaginosis.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of healthy women between the ages of 12 and 45 to determine whether they had asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis. Four hundred and ten women equally representing Asian, black, Hispanic, and white self-identified racial groups were asked to provide vaginal samples and complete a detailed sexual history questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate the relationship between lubricant use and bacterial vaginosis.

Results: Asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis was detected in 26.8 percent of participants. There was no statistically significant relationship between lubricant use and bacterial vaginosis identified. However, a stratified analysis revealed a significant interaction between black race and lubricant use (OR = 3.25 among black participants versus 0.434 among non-black, Breslow day test of homogeneity p = 0.0063). A multivariate model adjusting for douching, sexual activity, and race demonstrated that lubricant use was associated with an increased odds of bacterial vaginosis among black women, but not among Hispanic or white women, although this trend was not statistically significant (p-value for interaction of Black women and lubricant use 0.0667). Asian women were excluded from the analysis due to insufficient numbers reporting lubricant use (n=10).

Conclusions: While there is no apparent relationship between lubricant use and bacterial vaginosis, our study revealed a potential interaction between race and lubricant use. It appears that African American women who use lubricants may be at increased risk for bacterial vaginosis as compared to white and Hispanic women. This may be due to differences in the underlying vaginal microbial system. The impact of lubricant use on vaginal microbial composition and bacterial vaginosis merits further study.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1


Materials and Methods6






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