The experiences of menopause among Eritrean women in the Adelaide community

Author: Segen Hagos

Hagos, Segen, 2022 The experiences of menopause among Eritrean women in the Adelaide community, Flinders University, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

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The effects of menopause on women’s daily life is serious and can lead to increased stress levels and reduced quality of life. In Australia, women from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds are more likely to have worsen experiences of psychological distress and hot flushes due to the lack of knowledge and education about the health care system and the opportunities for access to health services/professionals to address women’s individual needs. Women’s experiences of menopause are not well researched in Eritrea. Research into the experiences of those Eritrean women living in Australia is even more sparse. The aim of this study was to explore the menopause experiences of Eritrean women in Adelaide, between the ages of 45-70 years. A qualitative study incorporated in-depth interviews conducted with the Eritrean Women in Adelaide. Semi-structured, one to one interviews were conducted with six participants. In this study, the main themes were that the Eritrean women were overwhelmed and stressed by the symptoms and experiences of menopause. Participants had little and lack of previous knowledge and education about menopause as well as shyness to speaking up. When these women settled in Australia it was difficult to adapt to the new society and to discuss any issues with health care professionals. The findings demonstrate that the Eritrean women experienced different symptoms such as stress, hot flushes, sleep disturbance and night sweats with the cause being unknowingly to them until the women received health care treatment. The Eritrean women also experienced cultural and background barriers that delayed the visit to the doctors because these women are not used to seeing or seeking help from others when it comes to personal health concern. This research provides an insight into the lived experience of menopause among Eritrean women living in Adelaide. The results are significant as it suggests: 1) Eritrean women have little prior knowledge on menopause before relocating to Adelaide; and 2) Eritrean women are reluctant to seek health care support due to cultural background and lack for knowledge. While this study has a small sample size, its result warrants further research into this topic not only among Eritrean community but, also other cultural and linguistic diverse communities in Australia. It is hoped that this enhanced knowledge about menopause will 4 4 enable the healthcare to further develop strategies to better reach, connect and support those women from culturally and linguistically diverse background with healthcare needs.

Keywords: Menopausal women, Eritrean women, Qualitative research, Cultural and background barriers.

Subject: Health Sciences thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2022
School: College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Supervisor: Dr. Yvonne Parry