Isala wants to break the taboo around vaginal health. That’s why all our research kits contain great conversation starters  (also online available). Use these cards as inspiration for interesting chats with friends and family, and find out how much there is to say about vaginal health.

You can also start a conversation online by clicking on a question and adding your response. You can do it anonymously – your first name is fine. The Isala researchers will answer your question. This way, we can increase knowledge about the female microbiome and break the taboo together. That’s our dream at Isala. Feel free to add comments and ask questions – let’s start the conversation together! 

Can the  microbiome aid research into sexual assault?

Neen is neen

Almost 13 rape reports per day were registered in Belgium in 2019. Jups, you read that right, more than a dozen !! Or simply 4,664 rapes in just 1 year! Even worse, this is just the tip of the iceberg. As experts agree, we are dealing with a so-called dark number. This means that the number of reports is only 10% of the total number of actual incidents. And suppose you think it is something far from your own life. You must know that according to the international human rights organization Amnesty in Belgium, 1 in 5 women have been raped. That makes me silent for a moment…

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Diverse inside and out: vaginal microbes differ with ethnicity?

Every time I read about a study on the microbiota composition, whether it is from the gut, skin, or vagina, I wonder with which bacteria I am sharing my body with?. As a Peruvian researcher living in Belgium and now being involved in the Isala project, I also wonder about my vaginal microbiota composition and the ones from women like me: women with non-Belgian ethnicity but living in Belgium for several years. Perhaps our vaginal microbiota has changed over time and became similar to women of Belgian ethnicity? Or our ethnic background is “resisting” the possible Belgian environmental influence? 

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 What do underpants and face masks have in common?


Do you ever consider from which material your underwear is made of? I honestly don’t. But the great thing about our Isala project is that we get a lot of inspiration from our participants and social media. For example, we were contacted by Lore Janssens from Oh Yaz, a sustainable clothing brand that wants to empower women. She is convinced that we pay too little attention to our underwear material. She started an impressive search for the ideal substances for people and nature. And who knows, maybe we can search together for substances that are also ideal for your microbiome. That is why we asked in our most recent questionnaire if you could also give your underpants’ material. 

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We also change the names of  lactobacilli

In a healthy vaginal microbiome,  one of four species of lactic acid bacteria almost always dominates the community. Coincidentally (or not), all four species belong to the bacterial genus Lactobacillus. This genus is very diverse, to an almost absurd extent: the species within this genus differ much more from each other than the species of any other bacterial genus.

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