Is there any association between adherence to the Mediterranean Diet and Dietary Total Antioxidant Capacity with Bacterial Vaginosis? Results from a Case-Control study

BMC Womens Health. 2022 Jun 20;22(1):244. doi: 10.1186/s12905-022-01833-8.


Background: Bacterial vaginosis, BV, is a common inflammatory vaginal dysbiosis. The Mediterranean diet, MD, containing foods rich in antioxidant compounds, is shown to be beneficial for inflammatory conditions. This study aimed to investigate the association between MD adherence and dietary total antioxidant capacity (DTAC) with BV.

Methods: This case-control study was conducted on 143 BV-affected and 151 healthy individuals aged between 15 and 45 years. The Amsel criteria were used to detect newly diagnosed patients with BV by a gynecologist. The 168-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to record participants' dietary intakes in the last year. The reported data in the FFQ was used to measure adherence to the MD by calculating the Medi-Lite score and to measure the DTAC by calculating ferric-reducing antioxidant power, FRAP, based on the related databases. Logistic regression models were used to determine the association between Medi-Lite and DTAC and BV odds.

Results: The highest tertile of Medi-Lite score was associated with a reduced odds of BV in the crude model (Odds Ratio, OR: 0.49, 95% Confidence Interval, 95% CI 0.25, 0.96, P for trend: 0.023). This significant inverse association was not observed in the last model adjusted for age, body mass index (kg/m2), waist circumferences (cm), cigarette smoking, frequency of pregnancy, and physical activity (MET/h/d). In crude and adjusted odels, BV odds decreased in the highest tertile of vegetable (adjusted OR, aOR: 0.32, 95% CI 0.16, 0.63, P for trend: 0.001), fish (aOR: 0.46, 95% CI 0.25, 0.84, P for trend: 0.009), legumes (aOR: 0.26, 95% CI 0.14, 0.50, P for trend < 0.001), and meat (aOR: 0.29, 95% CI 0.15, 0.56, P for trend < 0.001) groups. There was no significant association between DTAC and BV odds.

Conclusions: The significant inverse association between the MD adherence and BV odds did not remain after modifying for confounders; besides, DTAC was not associated with BV odds. However, some of the MD components might be associated with a reduced odds of BV.

Keywords: Bacterial vaginosis; Case–control study; Inflammation; Mediterranean diet; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial*


  • Antioxidants