Immunology Case Reports

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Special Issue Article - Immunology Case Reports (2020) Volume 4, Issue 3

Aerobic Vaginitis ? A Common but Underdiagnosed Cause of Recurrent Vaginal Discharge of Dysbiotic Origin? Are We Dealing with a Cryptic STI?

Aerobic Vaginitis – A Common but Underdiagnosed Cause of Recurrent

Vaginal Discharge of Dysbiotic Origin– Are We Dealing with a Cryptic STI?

Sidharth Sonthalia

SKINNOCENCE: The Skin Clinic and Research Center, India


 Background: Hitherto, the concept of vaginal dysbiosis was considered synonymous with Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), characterized by homogenous non-inflammatory vaginal discharge (VD) attributed to the replacement of the normal vaginal flora with pathological bacteria especially Gardnerella vaginalis. Across the globe, any woman in her 3rd to 4th decade of married life presenting with white homogenous minimally symptomatic VD was labelled as BV on finding of reduced lactobacilli, and often the fulfillment of the Amsel’s criteria. However, off late many women with inflammatory variant of BV with recurrence have started presenting to the STI clinic. An inflammatory variant of vaginal dysbiosis caused by group-B streptococci and related organisms presenting with purulent discharge and features of local inflammation was identified in 2002 and labelled aerobic vaginitis (AV) by Gilbert Donders. However, 17 years down the lane, this entity, suspected to be common, remains unknown to with consequential underdiagnosis by reproductive tract infection (RTI) specialists, gynecologists and dermatologists.


Commensal microbiota related with the human body effect many features of fetal growth, physiological role, immunity at mucosal surfaces, susceptibility to infections and capacity to integrate nutrients. As such, commensals in the lower female reproductive tract are important in upholding vaginal health as well precluding infections. Human vaginal infections are related with pointedly enlarged risk of preterm birth in women., On the off chance that untreated, they can prompt to pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID), which can cause tubal infertility, ectopic pregnancy, regenerative brokenness, and unfavorable pregnancy results (counting preterm conveyance and low birth weight). Vaginal diseases may add to the movement of cervical dysplasia, expanded danger of post-conveyance contaminations, HIV, and herpes simplex infection 2 (HSV-2) securing and transmission. In any case, the surprising pregnancy result and untimely birth because of vigorous vaginitis (AV) and bacterial vaginosis (BV) contaminations in pre-birth health administrations among asymptomatic pregnant ladies is high in Africa and around the world. The contribution of AV and BV to vaginal health and pregnancy result has been explored for longer than a century, yet they remain not entirely comprehended. For instance, in epidemiologic examinations, it has been recommended that having various sexual accomplices, expanded maternal age, past unconstrained premature births, and modified vaginal bacterial networks (counting diminished Lactobacillus species and simultaneous colonization with Candida species) are the hazard factors for vaginal colonization with organisms related with endogenous disease, for example, AV and BV. Bacterial vaginosis is characterized by the nearness of clinical side effects and expanded vaginal pH, ordinarily ≥4.5, presence of white follower release that contains shed epithelial cells with Gram-variable polymorphic bar molded microscopic organisms connected to their surfaces (hint cells), and a fishy smell. BV is regularly polymicrobial, described by the nearness of mostly anaerobic microorganisms including Gardnerella vaginalis, Prevotella species, and Mycoplasma hominis, Mobiluncus species. An expanded danger of PID, STIs (notwithstanding HIV disease), and preterm conveyance in pregnant ladies is related with BV. Aerobic vaginitis was first described in 2002, as a vaginal state unmistakable from BV, which may need diverse clinical administration and have specific clinical dangers. Like BV, AV is characterized by interruption in Lactobacillus strength however is joined by more outrageous fiery changes than BV and the nearness of predominantly high-impact enteric commensals or pathogens, including Group B Streptococcus (S. agalactiae), Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, and S. aureus. AV has been seen in 8–11% of pregnant ladies and in 5–24% of ladies revealing vaginal grievances. In specific cases, AV is related with progressively genital aggravation, expanded quantities of leukocytes obvious in vaginal smears, with expanded movement to pathogens [termed “harmful leukocytes”]. Ladies with AV will in general have more slender vaginal mucosa than those with BV, with expanded quantities of middle of the road and parabasal cells in vaginal smears, demonstrative of expanded turnover and desquamation of shallow epithelial cell layers.

Both BV and AV finding depends on wet mount microscopy, with analysis dependent on insufficiency of Lactobacillus species. Not at all like BV, AV wet mounts are certain for cocci or coarse bacilli, positive for parabasal epithelial cells, and positive for vaginal leukocytes (in addition to their granular perspective). The analysis of AV is likewise founded on sub-atomic indicative strategies and minute standards evaluated on a quantitative scale. The proposed calculation for evaluating AV that is like the Nugent scoring framework, where the quantity of focuses sets up the composite AV score, with the most extreme score being 10. Like the Nugent scoring framework utilized for evaluating BV, the AV score may demonstrate ordinary, halfway, or serious AV. Lactobacillary grades are the reason for a composite score to which the accompanying four factors have been included: (a) relative number of lactobacilli; (b) the nearness of poisonous leukocytes; (c) the nearness of parabasal epithelial cells; and (d) the kind of foundation microbiota. Aerobic vaginitis, without an exact determination, may be erroneously analyzed as BV, prompting mistaken treatment or considerably progressively extreme intricacies of AV, for example, desquamative provocative vaginitis, which is considered to expand the danger of preterm conveyance, chorioamnionitis, and funisitis of the embryo during pregnancy.

Focus: In this lecture, I shall sensitize my colleagues with the entity called AV, and elaborate on its pathogenesis, clinical picture, diagnosis and treatment options. Special emphasis shall be given to its differentiation from BV. AV significantly differs from BV, in clinical presentation, diagnostic criteria and management. Akin to BV, the status of AV as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) remains controversial. Further, I shall deliberate on the deleterious impact of untreated AV on pregnancy, and the latest evidence-backed approach to diagnosis and treatment. Further, I shall dwell upon two controversies – whether we have been under- or misdiagnosing AV owing to negligence, and whether AV should be considered an STI and warrants partner treatment as well. Lastly, the impact of AV and HIV on each other would be discussed.


Author(s): Sidharth Sonthalia

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