Reproductive Health Issues for Nigerian Women in Menopause
AbstractReproductive Health is usually focused upon women in their reproductive years, but this does not include girls who have not begun procreation nor women who are past the age of reproduction. In this paper, we focus attention upon women in menopause, realizing that they form a significant proportion of the female population and with longer life expectancy, women are more likely to be in the post menopausal stage for a longer period of their lives. The study takes on a bio-psycho-social analytical framework to examine the health status of women in menopause in Nigeria. Recognising the importance of the socio-cultural dimension to the evaluation of one's health status, the study took a cross-cultural research approach, integrating both quantitative and qualitative methods. A number of physical conditions were commonly associated with menopause, including weakness, internal heat, waist pains, ‘false pregnancy', general body pain, headache, shrinking of the body, vaginal dryness, sweating, dizziness, restlessness and unhappiness. The perception concerning the degree of severity of these conditions varied by individual, but also by ethnic group. These perceptions were also found to be related to the women's attitudes to ageing in general and menopause, specifically. Nearly one-half of the women did not know about any treatments for these symptoms, but this also varied by ethnic group. It is recommended that there is a need for sensitisation of the general public, including health care providers and enlightenment of female concerning menopause.
(Gender & Behaviour: 2003 1: 1-15)