The vaginitis monologues: Women's experiences of vaginal complaints in a primary care setting

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41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Vaginal complaints are a common presenting problem in primary care settings. A disease model has dominated current research and treatment paradigms, with little attention to the illness or experiential dimensions of vaginal complaints. In this paper, we report data from a qualitative study of the experiences of women diagnosed with vaginitis. In semi-structured interviews with 44 women in New York City, United States, we investigated women's interpretations and explanations of their illness, their accounts of its impact on their lives, their experiences with treatment, and the role of vaginal symptoms in communicating distress and anger. We found that women's explanations of vaginal complaints differed strikingly from the current medical model described in the literature on vaginitis. Vaginal symptoms often occasioned extreme anxiety; their impact on social and sexual functioning could be severe. Finally, vaginal symptoms often functioned to express distress and gender conflict. These findings have important implications for the management of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1021
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume56
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2003

Fingerprint

Vaginitis
complaint
Primary Health Care
experience
illness
Anger
anger
gender
Anxiety
Interviews
paradigm
anxiety
Disease
interpretation
Primary Care
Complaints
Monologue
Primary care
woman
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Explanatory models
  • Illness representation
  • USA
  • Vaginal complaints
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Health(social science)

Cite this

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