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Menopausal women need better health care and community support in rural areas
Date:2/19/2008

their late 60s, they found that their findings fell into four main themes:

  • Intensity of the experience. Women were often surprised by the intensity of the psychological, physical and social consequences of menopause. Memory loss caused considerable concern and many women were scared that it was due to the early onset of Alzheimers. Participants suddenly became aware of their age and mortality and they were surprised at how intense symptoms like hot flashes/flushes, loss of sex drive and mood swings could be.

  • Seeking understanding. Many women had problems accessing local health services, as rural areas often have difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, and women found it hard to build up trusting relationships with their health providers. The women often looked elsewhere for details on menopause, but found that the Internet, books, magazines and television programmes gave them an overwhelming amount of conflicting information.

  • Accepting the unacceptable. Women who took part in the survey drew heavily on shared experiences and humour and saw menopause as a bonding experience with other women. Humour was viewed as part of a new-found freedom stemming from communication and openness about menopause and its related symptoms. The women expressed concern that previous generations had not had that freedom of expression and they were keen to make things easier for future generations.

  • Supportive social networks. Women spoke of a strong need for a female perspective and lamented the lack of female rural doctors. They wanted better medical expertise on menopause and formalised healthcare support. But because they couldnt access that, they sought validation from other women that their experiences were normal and that they were not alone in their confusion and distress.

Scarce healthcare resources are a problem in rural areas and many of the women we spoke to struggled t
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Source:Eurekalert

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