'You don't really feel you can function normally': Women's perceptions and personal management of vaginal thrush
Chapple A., Hassell K., Nicolson M., Cantrill J.
Vaginal symptoms caused by thrush are extremely common. However, there have been few qualitative studies reporting women's perceptions and self-management of this condition. This paper reports the results of 30 telephone interviews that were conducted with women who had previously presented at community pharmacies with a self-diagnosis of vaginal thrush. Some women reported that thrush made them feel miserable, unable to work, embarrassed, or even stigmatized. About half of the women knew that they could take simple measures to prevent the symptoms of thrush, but others wanted more information. Most women reported that over-the-counter medicines had cured their symptoms, but some stressed that alternative remedies such as natural yoghurt were also beneficial. Since it appears that thrush may have a major impact on women's lives, it should be taken seriously by health care professionals. Women need reassurance that thrush is a common condition, and that it is not generally regarded as sexually transmitted. Some researchers have argued that women suffering from chronic thrush may benefit from the development of psychological treatment initiatives. However, it is also important to ensure that women know how to prevent thrush, and to inform women about the range of effective remedies that now exist for this condition.