The association of psychosocial stress and bacterial vaginosis in a longitudinal cohort

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Feb;194(2):381-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2005.07.047.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the association of psychosocial stress with bacterial vaginosis in a longitudinal sample of nonpregnant women.

Study design: A 1-year prospective longitudinal design was used. Nonpregnant women (n = 3614) aged 15 to 44 years were recruited at routine health care visits. Assessments were conducted quarterly for 1 year and included a standardized pelvic examination, an assessment of clinical symptoms, and an extensive self-report interview.

Results: Psychosocial stress was associated with overall prevalence of (adjusted odds ratio, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.01-1.20) and an increased incidence of (adjusted odds ratio, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.12-1.48) bacterial vaginosis. The association between stress and bacterial vaginosis incidence was not changed appreciably by the control for behavioral and demographic characteristics and was magnified (odds ratio, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.15-3.66) in a case-crossover analysis.

Conclusion: Increased psychosocial stress is associated with greater bacterial vaginosis prevalence and incidence independent of other risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / epidemiology*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / psychology*