Qualitative Analysis of Sexually Experienced Female Adolescents: Attitudes about Vaginal Health

Jenny K.R. Francis, Lauren Dapena Fraiz, Marina Catallozzi, Susan L. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study Objective To explore adolescent's perceptions of vaginal health, practices, and vaginally-placed products. Design Semistructured interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed until theoretical saturation was achieved. Setting Adolescent medicine clinics in New York City. Participants Female adolescents (N = 22) who were sexually experienced, predominately Hispanic (73%, n = 16) with a mean age of 17.7 years (range, 15-20 years). Interventions None. Main Outcome Measures Interviews were used to assess perspectives on vaginal health, specific vaginal hygiene practices, and attitudes about vaginally-placed products (contraceptive rings, intrauterine devices), and proposed multipurpose technologies administered as ring or gel). The interviews were transcribed and coded for relevant themes. Results Overlapping themes included young women's view of their vagina as a space that needed to be healthy for sexual partners and future fertility. The vagina could not be presumed to be healthy and conversations about vaginal health were limited to include only specific individuals. All reported a variety of practices to maintain their vaginal health, including showering 1-5 times a day and using soaps specifically for the vagina. Attitudes about vaginally-placed products revealed concerns about the sensory experience of having a product in the vagina, safety concerns and interest in the product's objective (prevention of pregnancy or infection). Conclusion Adolescents have very specific views and practices about their vaginas. Clinicians should initiate conversations about vaginal health and hygiene with adolescents and focus on the normalcy of the vagina. Development of vaginally-placed products should focus on the sensory experience, safety, and purpose of the product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-500
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Keywords

  • Attitudes and perceptions
  • Contraception
  • Multipurpose technology
  • Qualitative
  • Reproductive health
  • Vaginal health
  • Vaginal practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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