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We aim to understand what it is like to experience recurrent vaginal thrush and access health services.

Illustration of a woman at a doctors appointment.

Aim

This study aims to improve understandings of how recurrent thrush is experienced and provide resources to support self-management and medical treatment. 

Why is this important?

Vaginal thrush is a genital infection that causes itching, burning, discomfort, and changes in vaginal fluids. Three-quarters of women will have thrush in their lifetime. Most cases go away in a few days with medication. Yet, some women will have repeated infections over years. In the UK, 1.2 million women have this repetitive experience, known as recurrent thrush. This condition can cause poor mental health, low self-image, and strained relationships with healthcare services.

The upcoming UK Women’s Health Strategy says that we need to listen to the voices of women and people assigned female at birth. The strategy’s calls for evidence highlight the need to hear and share stories to make people aware of what living with common gynaecological conditions is like, and what needs to change. The experiences gathered in this study will help design better resources and support for all people affected by recurrent thrush and their healthcare professionals.

What are we doing?

Would you like to take part in a study about experiences of recurrent thrush to develop a new web resource for patients and healthcare professionals?

We are interested in hearing from:

  • Anyone over the age of 16 who lives in England and has had recurrent thrush in the last 5 years, including women, non-binary, and trans people.
  • We welcome people from all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds to share their experiences.

The interviews will take place either in-person, online, or over the phone depending on what you prefer.

Please contact us to learn more about joining the research: Victoria.ford@phc.ox.ac.uk

How will this benefit patients and the public?

We will use the interviews to develop an online platform that will be shared on Healthtalk.org, an award-winning website that provides insight into patient experiences. Healthtalk has been shown to help support others going through similar experiences by making them more confident in understanding and discussing their condition.

Healthtalk is also used to help train doctors, nurses, midwives, GPs, and other health professionals to understand people’s experiences of recurrent thrush and improve health service delivery.

With your permission, we will share your experience in written, audio, or video format. We will also publish our findings in academic journals and present them at healthcare conferences. This study has been designed with the help of patient representatives (PPI) and will continue to be guided by their input.

Department team members: