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Mind-body problem.

Psychosocial stress may be a factor in the development of bacterial vaginosis, a condition that can lead to adverse obstetric outcomes, genital tract infections and increased susceptibility to STDs.(1) In a yearlong longitudinal study of nonpregnant 15-44-year-old women attending an Alabama clinic, the odds that a woman had bacterial vaginosis at the time of any given visit increased by 10% for every one-point increase in her score on a standard scale measuring psychosocial stress. Moreover, the odds that a woman who did not have bacterial vaginosis at one visit had it at the next rose by 29% for every one-point increase on the stress scale. These associations were statistically significant and were independent of the effects of demographic and behavioral characteristics.

According to the researchers, the findings suggest that the effect of stress "is related to the development of [bacterial vaginosis] rather than its maintenance over time"; the investigators acknowledge the need for additional research exploring the mechanisms underlying this effect.

(1.) Nansel TR et al., The association of psychosocial stress and bacterial vaginosis in a longitudinal cohort, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2006, 194(2):381-386.
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Title Annotation:FYI; psychosocial stress may cause bacterial vaginosis
Publication:Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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