Women may be more likely to contract an infection during ovulation
During the ovulation period, a woman's immune system tends to naturally weaken in order to allow sperm to fertilize her eggs. This effect may also make women more likely to become infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), theorized researchers from Spain.
"This could be an explanation why during ovulation females have more risk of being infected with sexual transmitted diseases like HIV or HPV," said researcher Miguel Relloso, Ph.D., of the Hospital Gregorio Maranon and Complutense University.
In a new report in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, study authors revealed that a mouse model supported their hypothesis. The researchers observed that female mice were more likely to become infected with a fungus and have a lower immune response when the scientists induced ovulation. The team explained that the hormone associated with ovulation, called estradiol, appears to target dendritic cells, making them weaker and less able to fight off infections.
Results of this study underscore the need for regular STD testing and condom use, especially among non-monogamous partners who are not trying to conceive.