Perceptions of menopause and aging in rural villages of Limpopo Province, South Africa
AbstractBackground: The term ‘menopause’ is derived from the Greek words men (month) and pausis (a cessation, a pause). It is a direct description of the psychological and physical events in women where menstruation ceases to occur. It is the time in a woman’s life when she has experienced her last menstrual bleed. Menopause is not a disease per se but a condition associated with hormonal changes where oestrogen diminishes to a low level, causing agingrelated health problems.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of menopause and aging amongst women in rural villages of Vhembe District in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Method: The study was qualitative and explorative, using phenomenological approach. Purposive sampling was used to select the four villages and to select the focus groups. Sample size was determined by data saturation.
Results: The study findings were that participants in the villages associated cessation of menstruation to aging rather than menopause. Once menstruation stopped, one was regarded as old.
Conclusion: The conclusions of the study were that (1) menopausal issues should be emphasised and receive priority from puberty at the girls initiation schools, high schools, churches, other community resources and health care services so that when women reach menopause, (2) they should accept and be able to effectively cope with menopause and aging.
(3) Emphasis should also be placed on menopause as the aspect of human aging.
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