Women's health and the vaginal microbiome

Scientists have long realised the importance of microbial communities in the maintenance of vaginal health. However, very little is known about the cultural, social, and psychological factors that influence these microbial communities.More specifically, we know very little about the types of vaginal health and hygiene-related products and practices that women use and engage in that may affect women’s health.

This project is part of a larger team of scientists, clinicians, and researchers (the VOGUE team) studying the vaginal microbiome (read more about the VOGUE here). 

To learn more about Canadian women's vaginal health and hygiene practices, we conducted the following studies:

  1. Women participating in biological studies as part of the larger VOGUE project completed a behavioural survey exploring their use of vaginal health and hygiene-related products, such as douches, wipes, and probiotics, and their experience with various vaginal practices.  
  2. A nation-wide online survey exploring the use of vaginal health and hygiene-related products, experience with various vaginal practices, vaginal health history and experiences, and sexual health history and experiences. To read a summary of the survey results, click here
  3. Two qualitative interview studies (one in Southwestern Ontario and one in British Columbia) were conducted to learn more about the social, cultural, and motivational influences for vaginal health and hygiene-related practices, such as using vaginal hygiene products like douches, wipes, or deodorant sprays, or engaging in particular vaginal practices like hair removal and cosmetic surgery.    

Analysis of the qualitative studies is currently underway and results will be available soon.