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Male genital microbiome

The male genital microbiome refers to the collection of microorganisms, including bacteria, that reside in the male genital region. The microbiome in this area is increasingly recognized as an important factor in maintaining genital health and overall well-being. While research on the male genital microbiome is growing, it is still relatively less studied compared to other areas of microbiome research, such as the gut, skin, and female reproductive tract.

Here are some key points about research on the male genital tract microbiome:

Sample collection: The collection of samples from the male genital tract can be challenging and invasive. Therefore, most studies rely on the analyses of the semen and penile samples to study the microbial composition. Some studies have also included samples from patients with specific conditions like prostate cancer and infertility. However, there are limitations in the studies conducted so far, such as a small number of participants, lack of ethnic background reports, and variations in microbial analysis methods.

Composition: The male genital microbiome is diverse but generally contains a lower number of bacteria compared to other body sites. The composition of the microbiome can vary among individuals, and different bacteria can colonize different anatomical sites within the male genital region (site-specific microbiota). Prevotella, Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, Finegoldia, Anaerococcus are some of the dominant bacterial genera found in the genital region of men [1, 2]. Male circumcision has been found to have an impact on the penile microbiome. The removal of the foreskin through circumcision alters the microbial environment on the penis. The specific bacterial species that are affected can vary, but generally, circumcision has been associated with a decrease in anaerobic bacteria and an increase in aerobic bacteria. Furthermore, different types of sexual activities can also influence the microbiome of the male genital tract, such as the colonization of the urethra and penis by different microorganisms. None or very limited information is available on the fungi (mycobiome) and viruses (virome) present in the male genital tract.

Balance and health: Maintaining a balanced and healthy microbiome in the male genital region is important for overall health. A balanced microbiome helps to protect against potential infections and promotes immune response in the genital area.

Imbalance and conditions: Dysbiosis or imbalance in the male genital microbiome can contribute to various conditions. Evidence suggests that bacteria have a role in male infertility and pathological conditions like prostate cancer. Overgrowth of specific bacteria can also lead to urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, and fungal infections.

Please see our article entitled β€˜How can probiotics help male genital health?’ for more information on key male genital conditions.

Future research: To gain a deeper understanding of the male genital microbiome and provide insights into the prevention and management of genital conditions and develop targeted interventions for maintaining optimal genital health. It’s important to note that the field of research on the male genital microbiome is still evolving, and new findings may emerge as more studies are conducted in the future.

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