Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Family Practice and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

"I should live and finish it": A qualitative inquiry into Turkish women's menopause experience

Serap Y Cifcili1*, Mehmet Akman1, Abdullah Demirkol2, Pemra C Unalan1 and Etienne Vermeire3

Author Affiliations

1 Marmara Medical School, Family Medicine Department, Tophanelioğlu c. No: 15-17 34662 Altunizade, Istanbul, Turkey

2 Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Drug Health Services, and University Of Sydney, Sydney NSW, Australia

3 University of Antwerp, Department of Primary Care, Interdisciplinary Care and Geriatrics, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Family Practice 2009, 10:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-10-2

Published: 9 January 2009

Abstract

Background

While bio-medically, menopause could be treated as an illness, from a psychosocial and cultural perspective it could be seen as a "natural" process without requiring medication unless severe symptoms are present.

Our objective is to explore the perceptions of Turkish women regarding menopause and Hormone Therapy (HT) to provide health care workers with an insight into the needs and expectations of postmenopausal women.

Methods

A qualitative inquiry through semi-structured, in-depth interviews was used to explore the study questions. We used a purposive sampling and included an equal number of participants who complained about the climacteric symptoms and those who visited the outpatient department for a problem other than climacteric symptoms but when asked declared that they had been experiencing climacteric symptoms. The interview questions focused on two areas; 1) knowledge, experiences, attitudes and beliefs about menopause and; 2) menopause-related experiences and ways to cope with menopause and perception of HT.

Results

Most of the participants defined menopause as a natural transition process that one should go through. Cleanliness, maturity, comfort of not having a period and positive changes in health behaviour were the concepts positively attributed to menopause, whereas hot flushes, getting old and difficulties in relationships were the negatives. Osteoporosis was an important concern for most of the participants. To deal with the symptoms, the non-pharmacological options were mostly favoured.

Conclusion

To our knowledge, this is the first qualitative study which focuses on Turkish women's menopausal experiences. Menopause was thought to be a natural process which was characterised by positive and negative features. Understanding these features and their implications in these women's lives may assist healthcare workers in helping their clients with menopause.