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Exploring Urban Pakistani Muslim Midlife Women’s Experiences of Menopause: A Focused Ethnography Study

  • Author / Creator
    Mevawala, Amynah S
  • Midlife women experience physiological changes. These changes are mainly related to the pre-, peri-, and postmenopausal symptoms that have an impact on their physical and psychological well-being and their general quality of life. Midlife women from diverse cultures differ in behaviours, values, and beliefs related to their life experiences and in ways to manage menopausal symptoms. Along with accessing contemporary healthcare services, urban Pakistani women commonly use natural/traditional/home remedies comprised of ingredients such as honey, garlic, and ginger and practice mind and body therapies such as yoga, aerobics, meditation, and other exercises to manage their menopausal symptoms. A combination of modern medicine and self-care practices tend to be used to promote health and prevent disease. There is limited research in the Pakistani context (Anwar, Green, Norris, & Bukhari, 2015) of midlife women and their menopausal symptoms and strategies used to manage those symptoms (Baig & Karim, 2006; Nisar & Sohoo, 2010). My doctoral research explores urban Pakistani Muslim midlife women’s experiences of menopause to acquire a deeper understanding of menopause and associated management strategies. A focused ethnography research methodology was used for this study. It guided and informed an understanding of the experiential knowledge of midlife women in a specific cultural context. Recruitment of 20 Pakistan Muslim women residing in urban Karachi was facilitated through women who were socially active at their workplaces or within their communities. Further recruitment used the snowball approach. Study data were gathered between December 2017 and March 2018. I conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 20 women to develop a deeper understanding of the experiences related to the management of menopausal symptoms, the use of biomedical interventions, and self-care practices. Mandatory ethical considerations were followed in the study. The data were managed using Quirkos qualitative data management software and I analyzed the data using qualitative content analysis to interpret and describe the women’s experiences of menopause. The demographic characteristics of the participants indicated that the age of the study participants ranged between 40 and 59 years. All the participants were Muslim but belonged to different faith practices of Islam. Participants of the study were educated working women. Three main themes developed: perception of menopause, strategies for symptom management, and influencing factors. Cultural and religious understanding and practices were interconnected with women’s overall perception and experience of menopause. The findings of this study have offered a novel perspective regarding providing a deeper cultural understanding of menopause and associated management strategies in the study population. In addition, it revealed the factors that contribute to shaping women’s decisions and menopause-related experiences. The information acquired through this study are valuable for nurses and other health care professionals to provide culturally appropriate interventions to midlife Pakistani women. This study has generated significant information to direct further research in the context of Pakistani midlife women experiencing menopause.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-c187-ze21
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.