Studies for Healthy Post-Menopausal Women

The Women's Health Research Unit at OHSU is seeking healthy post-menopausal women who are not currently using estrogen for several women's health studies. 

  • Impact of Localized Estrogen on the Urogenital Microbiome (Estrogen Microbiome Study)
  • Overactive Bladder Study
  • Treating Where It Hurts: Sexual Pain Study - Healthy Participants Needed

You may be eligible to participate in any or all of these studies. Study participation is completely voluntary and your decision to participate will not affect your care. To find out more information and to learn if you are qualified to participate, please call the Women's Health Research Unit confidential recruitment line at 503-494-3666 or email us at .

Estrogen Microbiome Study

The purpose of this study is to learn more about how estrogen affects the local microbial community or "microbiome" that exists in the vagina and bladder in women who have gone through menopause. There is some thought that some of the bothersome urinary and vaginal symptoms that women experience in menopause - including vaginal dryness, painful sex, uncomfortable urination and recurrent urinary tract infections - may be related to an underlying change in the microbiome of the bladder and vagina as estrogen levels drop. Estrogen treatment can improve many of these symptoms in many women. We want to see how localized estrogen treatment alters the microbiome of the bladder and vagina, as this may help us to develop more targeted therapies for women in the future. All participants will have a vaginal ring in place for 12 weeks. Half of the participants will receive a vaginal estrogen ring and half will receive an equivalent placebo vaginal ring without any estrogen. Qualified participants will be compensated up to $75 for time and travel.


  • Postmenopausal women ages 40-89
  • No use of hormone therapy in the last 3 months
  • Not currently using vaginal pessary
  • No history of breast, uterine, ovarian or cervical cancer
  • No use of systemic or vaginal antibiotics in the last 2 months
  • No urinary tract or vaginal infection in the last 2 months
PI: Tom Gregory, MD; IRB# 17056

Overactive Bladder Study

The Women's Health Research Unit is studying how the bacteria in the bladder - the "urinary microbiome" is different between postmenopausal women who have overactive bladder syndrome and those who do not have overactive bladder.  Qualified participants will be compensated up to $40 for time and travel for this study. The study will take 90 minutes to complete and includes one clinic visit with vaginal exams, urine collection, and questionnaires.


  • You are a woman between 55-80 years of age
  • You have gone through menopause
  • You are in good general health
  • Either have or do not have overactive bladder syndrome
PIs: Rahel Nardos, MD and Lisa Karstens, PhD; IRB# 10729

Treating Where It Hurts - Healthy Participants Needed!

To complete a study about pain with intercourse after menopause, the Women's Health Research Unit needs several women who DO NOT HAVE pain with intercourse. We are looking for women who do NOT use estrogen and are NOT having intimacy pain.


  • You are a woman at least 40 years of age and are past menopause
  • You are in a stable heterosexual relationship
  • You have not used estrogen
  • You are willing to undergo 1 vulvar biopsy
Patients who come for one visit and complete a biopsy will be compensated $100.
PI: Martha F. Goetsch, MD, MPH; IRB# 16770