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J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2000;9 Suppl 2:S15-25.

A qualitative study of women's hysterectomy experience.

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  • 1Department of Graduate Studies, School of Nursing, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294-1210, USA.


The purpose of this qualitative study was to elicit women's perceptions of their experiences with hysterectomy, oophorectomy, and surgical menopause. Focus group and individual interviews were used to obtain data from a sample of southern urban women who had had hysterectomies for benign reasons. Of the 38 women who participated, 22 were African American and 16 were Caucasian, the mean age was 48 years, and most were low to middle income. Findings revealed that biophysical, psychosocial, and spiritual domains were important in the decision to have a hysterectomy. For many, the choice to have a hysterectomy was a last resort and was viewed as a technique that could relieve a myriad of symptoms. Although most participants described the hysterectomy experience as positive, they expressed a variety of concerns from diagnosis through recovery. Participants expressed a need for information about women's gynecological health for themselves and their male partners. African American women expressed a need for change in attitudes and beliefs in the black community about women undergoing hysterectomy. Many spouses, brothers, uncles, and other African American male friends were nonsupportive, and a few women revealed that they had not told a new partner about the surgery. The findings have implications for women's healthcare providers. Provider training and education are needed that integrate biophysical care of women with the psychological, sociological, and spiritual domains. Efforts must be directed to the community to enlighten men and families about hysterectomy by dispelling myths and providing current health information related to women's gynecological health and alternatives to, indications for, and types of hysterectomy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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