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J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2000;9 Suppl 2:S63-7.

Talking about hysterectomy: the experiences of women from four cultural groups.

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  • 1Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


As part of the Ethnicity, Needs, and Decisions of Women (ENDOW) project, in-depth qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted at four sites, Alabama, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Texas. In South Carolina and Alabama, African American and white women were interviewed. In Texas, African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic women were interviewed, and in New Mexico, focus groups with Caucasian, Hispanic, and Navajo women were conducted. The Texas site also conducted focus groups with lesbian women. Data were collected on women's experiences with and attitude toward menopause, hysterectomy, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Information also was gathered on women's concerns and what experiences they have had or expect to have with healthcare providers and what they perceive their friends', families', and sexual partners' attitudes are toward hysterectomy. Numerous commonalties of experience existed across racial and ethnic groups. Overall, the women who participated believed that doctors do not take the time to explain issues related to menopause, hysterectomy, and HRT. Most of the women who have had a hysterectomy were satisfied with the outcome of surgery, as painful symptoms were relieved. There are also several interesting differences among the groups. Decision-making patterns differed among the ethnic groups, as did experience with healthcare providers. Many women in the focus groups expressed mistrust of or negative opinions of healthcare providers. African Americans expressed mistrust of their motives for recommending surgery, as did several of the Caucasian, non-Hispanic women. Most of the Hispanic participants respected and trusted their providers. All groups said they would seek additional medical opinions if they could afford to do so.

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