Vaginal thrush: Perceptions and experiences of women of South Asian descent
It is estimated that 75% of all women will, at some time in their lives, experience at least one episode of vaginal thrush. This paper reports the perceptions and experiences of women of South Asian descent living in England, who were suffering or had suffered from thrush. The paper draws upon data collected during 20 semi-structured interviews. The women reported that thrush sometimes had a considerable impact on their lives, making some of them feel 'dirty', embarrassed, depressed and stigmatized. Some women delayed seeking professional help even if they had access to a female General Practitioner. Access to professional care was sometimes hampered by language barriers, but more often by structural factors of gender and social class. Although almost all the women came originally from Gujarat (or had parents who were born in Gujarat), they reported a wide range of experiences. Since vaginal thrush causes much distress and since it is often preventable, the findings presented here have implications for clinical practice. The paper concludes with suggestions for future developments.