Australian general practitioners views and practices in the management of bacterial vaginosis: A pilot qualitative study

Joyce Toh, Meredith Temple-Smith, Jade Bilardi

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Introduction: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection among women of reproductive age. Recent research shows women often feel dissatisfied with the management of BV in general practice. Few data are available on general practitioners (GPs) management of BV in Australia. This study explored GPs views and practices in the management of BV.

Methods: A pilot qualitative study was undertaken in which eight GPs were purposively recruited to participate in one-on-one semi-structured interviews. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Results: GPs did not consider BV a serious condition, had poor levels of knowledge around BV-related sequelae and risk factors, used varying and inconsistent diagnostic and treatment practices, and rarely asked women about self-management of symptoms. Most GPs recognised BV could have some psychosocial impact on women’s lives; those with an interest in sexual health tended to be more empathetic. Major barriers to the improved management of BV in general practice included a lack of time, a lack of training and knowledge, and discomfort discussing sexual health issues particularly among male GPs.

Conclusion:Past research has shown women want more sensitive and consistent management of BV in general practice. BV management in general practice could be enhanced through improved awareness of BV-related risk factors and sequelae and women’s use of self-help remedies. Women need well-informed, evidence-based advice around optimal management and risks for BV.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalFamily Medicine and Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018

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