We analysed more than 4500 swabs at Isala and more are still coming in. Each woman has her own unique composition of her vaginal microbiome and so we found a very large number of different bacteria. In order to present this large amount of information in a somewhat convenient way, the researchers chose to focus on the ten most important bacteria in all participants.
Each woman was classified into one of these ten types. This means that when we analyzed the swab, we discovered that this bacterium from our top ten was the most common. Of course many more strains and species were found than these ten bacteria, we group them at this stage in the group ‘other bacteria’. For a very small number of women, one of the ‘other bacteria’ is even the most common in their vagina. But based on all our analyses, it appears that especially the ten types have an important impact on female health, so it is a very conscious choice to focus our research and communication on these ten types.
It is good to know that the Isala research is innovative and pioneering, so it is quite possible that we will add another type in the future. We did so in the summer of 2022 because the initial eight types were no longer sufficient to explain the health of the vaginas in Flanders. So, just like the female microbiome, Isala’s research is dynamic and we are actually quite proud of that!
By clicking on one of the bacteria on this page, you can read many more details. Are you curious about more general background to the Isala results? Then you should read more here.
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