Bypassing the middleman: a grounded theory of women's self-care for vaginal symptoms

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing



Document Type



Adult; Antifungal Agents; Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal; Decision Making; Drugs, Non-Prescription; Female; Humans; Interviews; Middle Aged; Self Care; Vagina; *Women's Health


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Studies


Increasing numbers of women use self-diagnosis and self-treatment in response to vaginal symptoms. I used the grounded theory method to generate theory on women's self-care. Data collection consisted of interviews with 11 women and 3 pharmacists and content analysis of text from consumer literature and advertisements for vaginal antifungal products. The basic problem experienced by women was the need for rapid and convenient relief of symptoms. To accomplish this, women used the four-stage process of "bypassing the middleman," which enabled them to resolve the problem in a timely manner. Media, economics, and social networks were primary influences on women's self-care.

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Citation: Health Care Women Int. 2002 Jul-Aug;23(5):417-31.

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