What’s in your vagina………?


Last week my colleague Emily introduced readers to the exceptionally good-looking VOGUE study team 🙂 – see last week’s post – and the research our group is doing to help women in Canada and around the world maintain their reproductive health.

Today I want to tell you how you can help us.

The vaginal ecosystem is indeed a complex microbial community. In fact, we can not currently define the healthy vagina in terms of the bacteria, viruses and other microbes that exist within. However, we do know that disruptions to the delicate balance of this ecosystem has profound health consequences for women including increased risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections. Abnormal bacterial balance in the vagina also increases the risk of having a preterm birth and can further lead to infertility. One of the primary objectives of the VOGUE team is to design diagnostic tools that will detect shifts away from a “normal” bacterial balance in the vagina before these serious health problems can develop. In order to do that we must first define what constitutes “normal”.

This is where you come in:

Calling all healthy women: We want your vagina!!!…3 swab samples from it to be exact.

We are actively recruiting 300 healthy, non-pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 49 to participate in phase I of our study. 41 participants have been enrolled to date (thank you ladies!). VOGUE study clinics at Women’s Hospital are in progress and we make every effort to accommodate our participant’s schedules including the addition of weekend and evening clinics. If you agree to participate you will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your medical and sexual history and will have 3 vaginal swab samples collected for genomic analysis. All information provided will be kept confidential and your swab samples will be identified by a study number only. Your identity will not be known to anyone beyond the immediate VOGUE research study team. You will receive an honorarium for your participation at the end of the visit.

Please click for further information on how to participate.

Look for our study advertising soon. We plan to be everywhere including university boards, women’s gyms, health food stores, medical clinics etc. If you have any clever ideas how we can inform more women about our study, please direct them to Julie @ jhadden@cw.bc.ca . A $25 certificate to Sephora or Chapters (your choice) will be provided for the most creative and untapped idea.

Thank you all for reading…I leave you with:

  • Number of women in BC diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in 2009: 7888
  • Annual cost of caring for preterm infants in Canada: $1-3 billion
  • Time required to attend a VOGUE study clinic: 1 hour
  • A healthy vagina…..priceless

Thank you ladies…hope to see you in VOGUE soon

Julie Hadden, BA, CCRP

VOGUE Study Project Coordinator

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