Some men may not like to wear condoms, but according to a recent study, they are actually good for the [email protected] Not only do they prevent the spread of STDs and prevent unwanted pregnancies, but they also help good bacteria grow. The women who were part of the study showed higher colonies of good bacterial microbes as compared to the other women who used other forms of birth control.
Lactobacillus is the healthy bacteria that grows in a woman’s body. The microbes of this bacterium produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide which helps to balance the pH. The average pH of the [email protected] is 4.5, which is what the lactobacillus helps to maintain. This level of acidity is comparable to tomato juice or beer. It can also help to block harmful bacteria that may cause infections.
There is no “normal” microbiome in the [email protected], but the lactobacillus helps to prevent infections such as vaginosis. This can cause itching, discharge, and a very unpleasant odor. Another great benefit to the healthy bacteria is that it has shown to help prevent HIV.
The new study took place at the Beijing Friendship Hospital. They took 164 women who were healthy and married. They all lived in China and were between the ages of 18-45 and were not using hormonal birth control like the pill. 72 of the participants used condoms, 57 used an IUD, and 35 used the “rhythm method” where couples don’t have s*x when there is a greater chance of getting pregnant. Out of all of these groups, the group that used the condoms had a much higher level of lactobacillus.
Researchers have warned however that condoms may not be the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. With average use they have a failure rate of around 15%. Birth control pills and IUDs are far more effective for preventing an unwanted pregnancy.