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

Rosemary T. Theroux, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Document Type Article


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.