A new research study revealed that vaginal immunity increases when having sex for the first time. Researchers say that having sex for the first time increases the activity of the immune system in the vagina. Researchers at the at the University of Washington in Seattle has revealed this.
Sean Hughes, the lead researcher and his colleagues collected cervical and vaginal fluid samples from 19 women in the US every 3 months for 5 years. Participants also reported having sex for the first time during the study.
The team measured levels of immune system proteins called cytokines. Cytokines are small proteins that are critical in regulating the growth and function of other immune system cells and blood cells. The team found that after sex, cytokines were found to be elevated in the participants.
The team also looked at data collected in 2 similar studies of 95 women in Kenya and 93 women in Belgium. All 3 studies showed an overall increase in vaginal immune system activity after first vaginal intercourse.
‘It is not clear why these immune changes occur. Sexual activity increases exposure to various bacteria in the vagina. The immune system recognizes this new activity and as a result sends more immune cells and signals frequently,’ – says researchers.
The study did not examine whether these immune changes altered fertility or the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.