Factors influencing women's decisions to self-treat vaginal symptoms

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing

Publication Date


Document Type



Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal; *Decision Making; Drugs, Non-Prescription; Female; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Health Promotion; Helping Behavior; Humans; Models, Psychological; Nurse Practitioners; Nurse's Role; Nurse-Patient Relations; Nursing Assessment; Nursing Methodology Research; Patient Acceptance of Health Care; Primary Health Care; Questionnaires; Self Medication; Social Support; Women


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


PURPOSE: To review the research on women's self-treatment of vaginal symptoms, describe factors influencing this phenomenon, identify evidence-based interventions, and suggest strategies for nurse practitioners (NPs) to promote safe and effective self-treatment decisions by women.

DATA SOURCES: Research articles identified through Medline and CINAHL databases.

CONCLUSIONS: The primary factors influencing women's decisions to self-treat vaginal symptoms were personal (attitudes, beliefs, values, knowledge and experience, and emotions) and environmental (culture, social networks and norms, media, and life context).

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Women's self-diagnostic skills and decision making for self-treatment can be improved through education and support from NPs. The traditional office visit may not provide an opportunity to teach women appropriate self-care because many women do not access providers for advice or information. Different methods of providing information to large numbers of women through consumer publications need to be developed and evaluated.

DOI of Published Version



J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2005 Apr;17(4):156-62.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID