V-Types-Blog-Header

The VProject

What is my vaginal type?

Written by Kean Health
10 min

Your vaginal type explained.

When you take a vaginal microbiome test, it is common to find your results categorized into a Vaginal Type. These categories aren't considered a grade or a score but serve as a method to compare the collection of bacteria in your vaginal microbiome to others.

Most classifications have five vaginal types based on the similar species, composition, and abundance of bacteria. The Vaginal Type classification can give insight into your vaginal microbiome, and may indicate high risk or low risk factors for certain medical conditions. There are also interesting parallels found between vaginal types and certain ethnic groups. Four of these types are dominated by different species of Lactobacillus—typically the most dominant bacteria found in the vaginal microbiome.
Here is how The VProject breaks it down the five Vaginal Types:



Vaginal Type 1: A vaginal type dominated by Lactobacillus crispatus

A vagina dominated by the bacteria Lactobacillus crispatus is considered to be a healthy vaginal state because it has the potential to protect you from certain infections like bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted diseases.

Vaginal type 1 may also have the lowest risk for other health complications such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, neonatal issues, toxic shock syndrome, and much more!

Lactobacillus crispatus can produce a high amount of D-lactic acid, a specific type of lactic acid that can withstand a more acidic environment within the vaginal space and allows the bacteria to fend off pathogens.

On average, 45% of white women have this vaginal type. Compared to other groups such as Asian (25%), Black (22%), and Hispanic (14%), women are less likely to have this type. 


Vaginal Type 2: A vaginal type dominated by Lactobacillus gasseri

A vagina dominated by the bacteria Lactobacillus gasseri is also considered a healthy vaginal state. Similar to Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus gasseri produces D-lactic acid but at a much lower rate which makes it not as protective against infections.

Vaginal type 2 has a decreased risk of developing infections, just slightly less than vaginal type 1. It has also been linked to a lower risk of other health outcomes, such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, neonatal issues, toxic shock syndrome and more.

This vaginal type is less common amongst women, but can still be found in white (8%), Hispanic (7%), Asian (5%), and Black (5%) women.

Lactobacillus crispatus can produce a high amount of D-lactic acid, a specific type of lactic acid that can withstand a more acidic environment within the vaginal space and allows the bacteria to fend off pathogens.

On average, 45% of white women have this vaginal type. Compared to other groups such as Asian (25%), Black (22%), and Hispanic (14%) women, who are less likely to have this type. 

 

Vaginal Type 3: A vaginal type dominated by Lactobacillus iners

Vaginal type 3, dominated by Lactobacillus iners is considered less stable than vaginal types 1 and 2 because it is less protective against infections and diseases. This vaginal type's capacity to protect your vagina from pathogens depends on the species cohabitating the vaginal microbiome alongside Lactobacillus iners. This means if Lactobacillus iners is found alongside other Lactobacillus species in your vagina, the more potential for protection against pathogens.

On the flip side, if Lactobacillus iners cohabits with more non-lactobacillus species in your vaginal microbiome, the fight against pathogens may not be in your favor. This is due to Lactobacillus iners producing more L-lactic acid, which is less effective than D-lactic acid so you'll need a higher abundance to attain the same protective effect and maintain a lower pH in the vaginal environment.

Vaginal type 3 is commonly found in Asian (30%), Black (32%) and Hispanic (36%) women compared to White (26%) women.

 

Vaginal Type 4: A vaginal type not dominated by a Lactobacillus species

Vaginal type 4 is considered the less protective of the vaginal types because it is not dominated by a particular Lactobaccillus species and is often composed of a high volume of different bacteria, also referred to as a high diversity vaginal type.

A highly diverse microbiome may be good for your gut, but it is considered high risk for your vaginal microbiome. However, this depends on multiple external factors to your health like, your age, behavior, medications, ethnicity, and much more.

It may be considered high risk if you have this vaginal type. However, each woman's vaginal health is unique and should be considered case by case and not a source of severe concern. We encourage you to start a conversation with a healthcare professional to better understand your vaginal health and diagnosis.

This vaginal type is more often found in Black (40%) and Hispanic (38%) ethnicities. Asian (20%) and White (10%) women have this vaginal type in lower proportions.

 

Vaginal Type 5: A vaginal type dominated by Lactobaccillus jensenii 

Vaginal type 5 is considered a protective vaginal type along with L. crispatus and L. gasseri. Lactobacillus. jensenii can also produce D-lactic acid, which helps maintain a low vaginal pH. Because it is not dominated by a particular Lactobacillus species and is often composed of a high volume of different bacteria, it is also referred to as a high diversity vaginal type.

A highly diverse microbiome may be good for your gut, but it is considered high risk for your vaginal microbiome. However, this depends on multiple external factors to your health like your age, behavior, medications, ethnicity, and much more.

This vaginal type is considered rare among women since it is detected in less than 10% of women. It can be found in 9% of white women and in lower portions within Asian (7%), Hispanic (4%), and Black (1%) ethnicities.



About The VProject:

The VProject is a study initially launched with Psomagen Inc. in September 2021 for women above the age of 18 located in the United States. Our mission is to help women take control and manage their own health. The research study offers a free personalized vaginal microbiome analysis that reveals the potentially harmful and helpful bacteria related to overall vaginal, sexual, and reproductive health. 

 

 

Click here for more information about the study.