The journey from self-care to GP care: a qualitative interview study of women presenting with symptoms of urinary tract infection

Leydon, Geraldine M., Turner, Sheila, Smith, Helen, Little, Paul and Moore, M.V. on behalf of the UTIS team (2009) The journey from self-care to GP care: a qualitative interview study of women presenting with symptoms of urinary tract infection. British Journal of General Practice, 59, (564), e219-e225. (doi:10.3399/bjgp09X453459). (PMID:19566988).


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Background: urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the commonest acute infections presenting to primary care. Little is known of women's experiences of UTI; self-care strategies and key triggers for their consulting behaviour are also little known.

Aim: to explore women's experiences of self-care and their journey to GP care, when faced with symptoms of a UTI.

Design of study: qualitative semi-structured interview study with women recruited to a larger UK trial of different management strategies for UTI.

Setting: general practices across four counties in southern England.

Method: twenty-one women were interviewed about the experiences they had prior to their GP visit, self-care strategies, and triggers for help seeking. Interviews were analysed thematically, using principles of analytic induction.

Results: women reported a process of evaluation, monitoring, re-evaluation, and, finally, consulting in order to meet their needs. Four key triggers for consulting were identified: failure to alleviate symptoms through self-care; symptom duration and escalation; impeding normal functioning and the fulfilment of social roles; and concern that it may be or become a serious illness.

Conclusion: although UTI is often self-limiting, when taking patient histories and formulating their management strategies clinicians need to take into account women's often painful experience, their efforts to resolve symptoms prior to consulting, and their fears that the symptoms may indicate something more serious than a UTI

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.3399/bjgp09X453459
Additional Information: Michael Moore is part of the UTIS team
ISSNs: 0960-1643 (print)
1478-5242 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Keywords: antibiotics, consultation, urinary tract infection
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Community Clinical Sciences
ePrint ID: 143625
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
July 2009Published
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2010 13:31
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:19

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