Perceptions of menopause in northeast Thailand: Contested meaning and practice
University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, AustraliaSocial Science & Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 12/1994; 39(11):1545-1554. DOI: 10.1016/0277-9536(94)90006-X
This paper draws on data collected from village-based ethnographic research conducted in northeast Thailand in 1990-1991 and highlights the polarities and contradictions of perceptions of menopause that exist between village women and health personnel with whom these women interact. For village women until recently, the menopause has been regarded as a simple and natural biological event; for health professionals, it is consistently represented as a 'medical problem' indicating treatment. The paper highlights women's construction of menopause, and their recognition and management of its physical symptoms. It draws attention too to differences among women and to the dynamic nature of their understandings and consequent health-seeking behaviour. The paper also describes the way in which health providers, through their own training and reading of professional and popular journals, increasingly represent the menopause as a pathological process and treatable condition. Through the exploration of conflicting perceptions of the menopause among contemporary Thai women, the paper draws attention to the heterogeneity and fluidity in understandings of biological processes that are related to and reflect the wider social and economic changes to which they are subject.
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- "Surgery is rarely offered as a treatment for mareng and healers are unlikely to tell their patients of the poor prognosis as this may distress patients and worsen their illness condition. Mareng is believed to be a complicated and mysterious disease that cannot be explained by a single cause (Golomb, 1985; Chirawatkul & Manderson, 1994). Thai women diagnosed with cervical cancer perceived the cancer as a lump of flesh which could grow, eat, or expand , uncontrollably to adjacent organs or other organs through blood or serous fluid (Jirojwong et al., 1994, Boonmongkon et al., 1999). "
ABSTRACT: Regular screening is an important preventive method in reducing morbidity and mortality from cervical and breast cancer. In 1998, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Brisbane, Australia, among 145 Thai immigrant women, to explore cultural and social factors related to their use of Pap smear tests and breast self-examination (BSE). The study aimed at describing women's beliefs and perceptions about the body, breast and cervical cancer, and their perceptions of the causes of the diseases. It explored the women's perception of the severity and the effects of both cancers on aspects of patients' lives, and their chance of developing both cancers. The Thai immigrant women explained the causes of breast and cervical cancer using both traditional beliefs and medical knowledge. They perceived that both cancers affect a patient's health and her daily activities. Some women believed that they would develop cervical cancer if their perineum or vulva was "dirty." Some believed that they would have breast cancer because they had a history of benign tumor or cyst of a breast. Forty-four percent of the women had biennial Pap smears in the past five years and only 25% conducted BSE monthly in the past two years. Information relating to perceived barriers to undertake regular cervical cancer and breast cancer screenings and other health beliefs can be applied by health care personnel to increase Thai immigrant women's preventive health behaviors.
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ABSTRACT: Researches suggest that people's perception about menopause largely depends on the inherent sociocultural context. In some of the developed countries of the west, menopause is viewed pessimistically. So, the understanding of this reproductive phase as a health risk and the approach to medicalise it are more pronounced in these countries. Some studies show that presently, to certain extent, people from developing countries are espousing menopause in a similar way like the west. The present study aims to understand the knowledge, attitude and perception of urban middle class women of West Ben-gal (India) toward menopause. The data have been collected on post menopausal women from their lived experience. The result shows that women of this study group are not much concerned with menopause and menopausal problems and do not perceive this reproductive episode of their life as health risk. It seems that the sociocultural perspective of the Bengali middle class epitomize menopause as uneventful. Thus, it appears that the agenda of promoting menopause as a medical model, has probably failed to penetrate the life of Bengali middle class community.
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ABSTRACT: The meaning and experience of menopause among Hmong women from Laos is examined in this paper. Hmong women see the menopause as part of growing old. A woman becomes menopausal only when she has borne all of her children. Although having many children is highly valued women do not see menopause as a negative stage since they have already borne many children and thus have ensured the continuity of lineage. Women also associate menopause with the polluted nature of menstruation. Once menstruation has ceased a woman becomes clean like a man and she is able to relax more. It appears that Hmong women perceive menopause as positive and that they experience few so-called menopausal symptoms. However, because of the availability of western health care and the relative lack of traditional herbal medicines and healers in Australia, women seek help from mainstream health services when they experience ill health of any kind. This inevitably puts women in midlife into contact with current medical interpretations of menopause. Will Hmong women be encouraged to interpret menopause as a medically oriented event and thus experience menopausal symptoms in the way many Australian women do? It remains to be seen.
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