VINCENT FELLOWS IN FEMALE PELVIC MEDICINE AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY


Advancing Urinary and Vaginal Health

To help women return to a normal lifestyle. the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery program provides Vincent OB/GYN patients comprehensive evaluations and treatment for female pelvic floor problems, including pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. In lab research, our Vincent fellows are seeking novel ways to prevent and treat urinary and vaginal infections.

Can Protective Vaginal Bacteria Control Urinary Infections?

Can Protective Vaginal Bacteria Control Urinary Infections?

Patricia Hudson, MD, a Vincent fellow in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS), is evaluating the effects of “good” protective vaginal bacteria on “bad” pathogenic bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs). Her experiments are focused on identifying strategies to promote healthy vaginal bacteria and to control or eliminate the pathogens associated with UTI. Recently, she also has been studying the effects of these protective vaginal bacteria on the healing of vaginal cells. Ultimately, this could have implications for healing after prolapse and/or incontinence surgery and for mesh erosion treatment.

Faculty Mentors
Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH, Investigator, Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology
Milena Weinstein, MD, Fellowship Program Director, FPMRS
May Wakamatsu, MD, Chief, Division of FPMRS; Vice-Chair, Vincent Department of OB/GYN
Emily Von Bargen, DO, Assistant FPMRS Fellowship Program Director
Lori Berkowitz, MD, FPMRS surgeon
Kristin Hung, MD, FPMRS surgeon

Career Path
MD: University of South Alabama College of Medicine, 2013
Residency: Maine Medical Center, completed 2017
Vincent Fellowship: 2017–2020

Select Publications

How Do Douching Products Harm the Microbiome?

How Do Douching Products Harm the Microbiome?

Helai Hesham, MD, a urogynecologist and fellow in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, is studying how commonly used douching products impact the vaginal microbiome, which consists of both protective and pathogenic bacteria. In the United States, one of five women uses douching products, believing they are helping their vaginal health. But in fact, they may be doing just the opposite, causing problems such urinary tract infections. As a urogynecologist, Dr. Hesham also is passionate about global health, particularly the surgical repair of obstetric fistula, a hole that develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth, resulting in an abnormal connection to structures such as the rectum and allowing fluid or waste to leak into the vagina or abdomen. This condition is largely preventable by caesarean section, an option often not available to women in resource-poor countries. To help decrease the burden of fistula worldwide, she does both research and surgery in Sierra Leone and Malawi.

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Do Over-the-counter Products Affect Bacteria?

Do Over-the-counter Products Affect Bacteria?

Kristin Hung, MD, a fellow in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, is studying how commonly used over-the-counter products impact both protective vaginal bacteria (the vaginal microbiome) and pathogenic bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTI). Many women use vaginal lubricants and creams, or take probiotics to treat genitourinary discomfort. The effects of these products on the balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina is not known. Her experiments are focused on identifying strategies to promote healthy vaginal bacteria and control or eliminate the pathogens associated with UTI.

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How Can We Protect Women from Urinary Tract Infections?

How Can We Protect Women from Urinary Tract Infections?

Angel Johnson, MD, a urogynecologist and fellow in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, is striving to find new ways to treat and prevent urinary tract infections, a recurrent problem in aging women. These infections often are caused when pathogenic bacteria, such as strains of E. coli,develop resistance to antibiotics. In the lab, she is investigating if Lactobacilli, probiotic bacteria known to benefit intestinal health and the vaginal biome, can also protect against pathogens that drive urinary tract infections.