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How Vaginal Infections Impact Women’s Everyday Life
—Women’s Lived Experiences of Bacterial Vaginosis and Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis

DOI: 10.4236/asm.2017.71001, PP. 1-19

Keywords: Bacterial Vaginosis, Vulvovaginal Candida Infection, Women’s Experience, Recurrent Symptoms, Qualitative Study, Interview

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Abstract:

Reoccurring symptoms and persistent problems that continue post treatment can be characteristic of the vaginal infections Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC). The purpose of this study was to describe women’s life experiences in managing the symptoms of bacterial vaginosis and Candida. Sixteen women were recruited and participated in an interview study when they contacted a Swedish gynecology clinic with vaginal complaints that ranged from and included abnormal discharge, irritation itching along with serious malodor. An interpretive phenomenological approach was used with an individual interview to get a more intimate understanding of the women experiencing these problems. The finding of this study shows that managing the recurrent symptoms of the infections remains to be a challenge for women as it has a clearly negative impact on the quality of their lives. Four themes developed: frustration and mood disorders, intimacy changes in the relationship, exposure, hope and relief. The women had high hopes of eliminating the symptoms within the six-month study period. The treatment program, with its well-developed guidelines and continuity of care within the context of the study greatly improved the quality of life of these women. Women had feelings of frustration and anxiety when nothing could cure their problem while they had also a great hope to get rid of the symptoms with a long striking treatment. Well-developed guidelines and continuity of care can help these women to have an improved quality of life.

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