The vaginal microbiota has great significance in maintaining vaginal health and protecting the host from disease.
Vaginal lactobacilli produce lactic acid, that provide protection against reproductive tract infections.
This acidification of the vagina to a pH of 3.0–4.5 results in inhibition of the growth of other bacteria. Lactobacilli bind to the surface of vaginal epithelial cells and compete with other microorganisms to prevent them from attaching to and infecting these cells.
They also release soluble components that inhibit other bacteria from associating with the epithelial cell membrane.11 The production by lactobacilli of compounds called bacteriocins, which kill other bacteria, also contributes to their dominance.
Thefore lactobacilli in a woman’s vagina may inhibit the proliferation of other bacteria that might be present in low levels as well as protect against acquisition of bacteria deposited in the vagina from ecternal sources.