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Journal of Community Nursing (JCN) | April 2016

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The impact of vulval disease on patients’ quality of life

The impact of vulval disease on patients’ quality of life
Skin Care

Article topics: Dermatology, Emotional wellbeing, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Vulval health

Vulval health disorders can be painful and chronic conditions. The link between long-term painful illness and the mental wellbeing of patients is firmly established. Taking into account the nature of vulval health conditions, it is important to gain an understanding into the impact they can have upon a patient’s quality of life. As part of an initiative aimed at expanding insight into the realities of living with this type of problem, the British Association of Dermatologists surveyed 325 British women who had suffered, or were currently suffering, from a vulval health disorder.

The study took the form of an online survey, collecting mostly quantitative data, with some qualitative insights. Responses were gathered under the categories of demographics; vulval condition; treatment; physical impact; impact upon career and social life; impact upon romantic and/or sexual relationships, and effect on emotional and mental wellbeing. Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents reported that their vulval health disorder had negatively affected their emotional and mental wellbeing. Patients suffering with a vulval health disorder were twice as likely to have suffered with depression and 22% reported having contemplated self-harm or suicide as a result of their condition. Overall, vulval health conditions were found to have a significant impact on quality of life for patients, affecting every aspect to some extent.