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Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014 Feb;16(2):e12423. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.12423. Epub 2014 Feb 7.

Female Gender Scheme is Disturbed by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Qualitative Study From Iran.

Author information

1
Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
2
Reproductive Endocrinology Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
3
Department of Biostatistics, School of Health Sciences, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, IR Iran.
4
Reproductive Endocrinology Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, IR Iran.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrinopathy affecting up to one in every five women of reproductive age. The majority of researches on PCOS focus on its biomedical aspects, often overlooking and neglecting women's own perceptions and experiences.

OBJECTIVES:

This study aimed to explore women's perception and experiences that influence their personal gender role.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

This research is a qualitative study by conventional content analysis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 reproductive aged women with PCOS, recruited from the reproductive endocrinology research center. , in-depth interviews were continued to reach data saturation. The study was carried out at the reproductive endocrinology research center of Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran All the interviews were recorded and transcribed, and qualitative content analysis of the data was conducted manually.

RESULTS:

Four themes were identified. Content analysis of the interviews revealed these women mainly perceived themselves with lack of physical attractiveness, loss of womanhood, interruption of sexual role and disruption of fertility potential, feelings were related to symptoms e.g. 'excess' hair; absent or disrupted menstrual cycle, obesity and infertility commonly experienced by women with PCOS.

CONCLUSIONS:

Women with PCOS are challenged in their perceptions of themselves as "feminine" because of their hairy appearance, irregular menses and lack of fertility and this influences their gender roles. Medical practitioners must understand how PCOS precisely affects women's roles and initiate management aimed at reconstructing their "womanhood", along with their medical treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Femininity; Gender Identity; Hirsutism; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; Qualitative Research

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