Parental experiences of their child's vulvovaginitis: a qualitative interview study.

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Introduction: Vulvovaginitis is described as a common self-limiting paediatric
gynaecological condition. Parents’ experiences of their child being diagnosed with this
condition and subsequent treatment have not previously been described.
Aim: The aim of this study was to explore parents’ experiences of their child’s
diagnosis and management of vulvovaginitis.
Study design: The study was conducted in the North West of England over a two-year
period. Qualitative data were generated by semi structured in-depth interviews.
Mothers of nine children with vulvovaginitis consented to participate. Data were
analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: The analysis of the data resulted in four themes; Trauma and uncertainty of
initial symptoms, seeking a diagnosis; an uncertain journey, managing the symptoms; a
process of trial and error and managing the impact; keeping it private. Parents
experienced a difficult and protracted journey to their child’s diagnosis and were
involved in a process of trial and error to try and monitor and manage what can be a
difficult ongoing condition.
Discussion: Clinical reports suggest that vulvovaginitis is a minor childhood condition;
this is not necessarily the perceptions and experiences of parents, who can experience
uncertainty and ongoing difficulty following their child’s diagnosis.
Conclusion: The diagnosis of vulvovaginitis can have a major and ongoing impact on
children’s and their family’s lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Early online date27 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jul 2019


  • Parental Experiences
  • Vulvovaginitis
  • Diagnosis
  • Management


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