A healthy vagina contains many different types of bacteria. The presence of these ‘good’ bacteria helps keep other ‘bad’ bacteria in check. Any imbalance in the number and type of bacteria that are present in the vagina has a direct impact on our health as women. Bacteria that live normally in the vagina differ from woman to woman and can even change dramatically in short periods of time in the same woman. Hence the one-size-fits all approach to the diagnosis and treatment of vaginal infections is lacking in many aspects. This often leads to misdiagnosis and mistreatment which become the cause for recurrent vaginal infections in women. In order to develop an effective treatment method to keep us healthy, it is important that the health care practitioners are able to understand the difference between a normal healthy vaginal microbiota and an unhealthy one.
Over the past few years we have seen a massive increase in the number of research studies being done to help improve the health and wellbeing of women suffering with various urogenital infections around the globe. These projects aim to improve the education provided to women and their health care providers on the vaginal microbiota. , and develop better diagnostic and therapeutic options that would ideally allow us as women to self-treat from the comfort and privacy of our home (e.g. probiotics).
The Vaginal Microbiome Group Initiative or VOGUE is among one of the many research studies taking place at the Women’s Health Research Institute. The aim of this project is to study the microbial ecosystem of the vagina in varying states of health and disease. A dedicated team of researchers are aiming to characterize the vaginal microbiome in diverse populations of women, in order to develop novel diagnostic tools and interventions that will help maintain women’s health and prevent future recurrent infections inCanadaand around the world.
Researchers are doing their share by undertaking such projects and using their knowledge and capabilities to their fullest in an attempt to understand our bodies and help prevent infections and diseases. We as women can help them by participating in their ongoing research.
To learn more about VOGUE or be a part of the study, click here.
Shivinder Dhillon, WHRI Coop Student
Emily Wagner, Infectious Diseases Research Manager