Condoms 'may benefit vaginal health'

Using condoms could prove beneficial for a woman's vaginal health, new research has suggested. 

According to a report by LiveScience, researchers at Beijing Friendship Hospital found that prophylactics can help good bacteria in the vagina to flourish.

The investigation included 164 healthy, married women in China between the ages of 18 and 45, 72 of whom used condoms.

It was shown that sexually active females who use this form of contraception have higher quantities of the beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus in their vaginas than those who attempted to stave off unwanted pregnancy and protect against sexually-transmitted infections through other methods.

The researchers noted these microbes produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide to create an acidic buffer system that can block harmful bacteria that may cause infections. 

It is thought that Lactobacillus can help to prevent bacterial vaginosis, which can lead to unpleasant side effects such as unusual discharge, itching and unusual odours.