Effects of oral contraceptive pill use on vaginal flora and vaginal epithelium

David A. Eschenbach, Dorothy L. Patton, Amalia Meier, Soe Soe Thwin, Jan Aura, Ann Stapleton, Thomas M. Hooton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine the effect of oral contraceptive (OC) use on vaginal discharge, epithelium, and flora. Thirty women who planned to use OC for contraception were evaluated before and 2 months after the start of OC use. At both visits, genital symptoms and exposures were assessed by questionnaire; vaginal signs were assessed by speculum examination and colposcopy; vaginal microflora was evaluated by quantitative culture; and a vaginal biopsy was obtained for histopathologic evaluation. Variables were compared between the initial visit and after 2 months of OC use. It was found that OC use did not change the gross, colposcopic, or histologic appearance of the vaginal epithelium or characteristics of vaginal or cervical discharge. Vaginal flora essentially remained unchanged after 2 months of OC use, except that a small decrease occurred in the number of subjects with ≥105 colony forming units/mL of H2O2 producing Lactobacillus from 16 at baseline to 9 (p = 0.04) and in the total number of subjects with Ureaplasma urealyticum from 17 at baseline to 10 of 29 (p = 0.04). The results indicate minimal effect of OC use on the vaginal epithelium and vaginal and cervical discharge, and a small effect on vaginal flora. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Contraception
  • Lactobacillus
  • Oral contraceptive
  • Vaginal epithelium
  • Vaginal flora

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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