Streptococcus pneumoniae is not typically found in the vagina, but can be present in some women or pass through, sometimes causing pelvic infection. Use of intrauterine devices, recent birth or local surgery can contribute to infections. S. pneumoniae infections can be very problematic. It is believed that Pneumococci are not able to survive normal, acidic vaginal pH, but changes in this pH (for example during pregnancy) may allow this bacteria to survive as a natural part of the vaginal microflora.
S. pneumoniae may get transported to the vaginal tract during insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD), after using tampons, after giving birth, or passed on during oral sex. Alternatively, the bacteria may pass through the intestine, making its way from the perineum to the vagina and cervix. A baby may have the bacteria passed to it from its mother in the womb or during birth.
S. pneumoniae is often found in the nose and throat, causing respiratory illness (ear infections, pneumonia, sinusitis, bronchitis, bacterial meningitis).
Vulvovaginal symptoms of S. pneumoniae infection
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pelvic/abdominal pain
- Respiratory symptoms (cough, mucous)
S. pneumoniae are gram-negative bacteria.
Treatment and prevention of S. pneumoniae
Treatment is with antibiotics, and a vaccine is available.