Speaking out : menopausal experience of South American women living in Western Sydney

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2005
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Menopause is a ‘normal’ event and an inevitable experience that affects all women who live through middle life regardless of class and culture. There are numerous stereotypes that surround the menopausal transition, many of which characterise middle-aged menopausal women as irritable, frequently depressed, asexual and besieged by hot flushes. Problematically, the authority of medical experts largely perpetuates these stereotypes. Much research has focused on the physiological process of and physical changes which women experience during menopause. However, such a focus lacks understanding about the personal experiences of menopausal women especially those who come from non-caucasian backgrounds. This research uses post-modern feminist research methods to give voice to the menopausal experiences of a group of South American women who live in the Western Sydney. The principal focus of the research is to understand what menopause means to the women. It aims to bring meaning to the interpretations the women attach to their menopausal experiences within the health care system. It also seeks to uncover practices that assist them to manage menopause and explore what they perceive may help them to better manage menopause. Findings suggest that although the women have been subjected to power in the menopausal phases of their lives socially and within the medical system, they have actively resisted this power. In resisting the power, the women have disturbed the male oriented perspective and silence that has predominated in the area of menopause. The women’s perception of menopause is consistent with a socio-cultural paradigm of menopause and consequently stereotypes about menopause have been disturbed. The women’s identity is portrayed as a group of migrant women who consider themselves to be normal, healthy and aging with a changing body. They do not consider menopause to be a disease. These findings have implications for health personnel in terms of health promotion in relation to dealing with menopausal women from other cultures.
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