Prevalence of bacterial vaginosis in postmenopausal women: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Linde L. Stewart, Lenka A. Vodstrcil, Jacqueline Coombe, Catriona S. Bradshaw, Jane S. Hocking

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common cause of vaginal discharge in women of reproductive age, is associated with considerable reproductive and gynaecological sequelae and increases the risk of acquiring sexually transmissible infections including HIV. Although we understand the burden of BV in women of reproductive age, much less is known about the burden of BV in postmenopausal women. We undertook this systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence of BV in postmenopausal women. The electronic databases PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and The Cochrane Library were searched for English-language papers reporting on the prevalence of BV in postmenopausal women and published up until the end of July 2020. Search terms included: (prevalence OR survey OR proportion) AND 'bacterial vaginosis'. Meta-analysis was used to calculate pooled estimates of prevalence. We identified 2461 unique references and assessed 328 full-text articles for eligibility, with 13 studies included in the meta-analysis. The prevalence of BV ranged from 2.0 to 57.1%, with a summary estimate of 16.93% (95% CI: 8.5-27.4; I2 = 97.9). There was considerable heterogeneity between studies and quality varied considerably. Further research is needed to provide a better understanding of the condition in postmenopausal women and understand its effect on their lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalSexual Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • menopause
  • postmenopausal
  • prevalence
  • sexually transmissible
  • symptoms
  • vaginal discharge
  • vaginosis
  • women

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