crowe m., burrell b. & whitehead l. (2011) Lifestyle risk management – a qualitative analysis of women’s descriptions of taking hormone therapy following surgically induced menopause. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(6), 1814–1823.
Aim. This article is a report of a study that examined how women describe their decisions in relation to the use of menopausal hormone therapy following surgical menopause.
Background. Women who have had a surgically induced menopause generally experience more intense menopausal symptoms than natural menopause and are regularly prescribed menopausal hormone therapy. Since 2002 the risks associated with this therapy have been widely reported.
Method. This study is a qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews between March and May 2009 with 30 participants who had experienced surgical menopause and were, or had in the past, taken menopausal hormone therapy. This was a community sample recruited in Christchurch, New Zealand. A risk management theoretical approach underpinned the analysis.
Findings. The womens’ descriptions of managing the risks associated with menopausal therapy fell into two main themes: Life has to go on and Waiting for someone to tell me. All these women had either made an active decision to continue on treatment because of the impact of menopausal symptoms or took their doctor’s advice to continue. A less dominant theme but one that was also evident was Relying on my body to get me through in which the women had decided to discontinue treatment because they regarded it as unnatural.
Conclusion. The study provided insights into how women utilize an experiential reasoning process to manage the health and lifestyle risks associated with taking menopausal hormone therapy. Nurses need to be aware of how this process influences women’s reasoning processes when working with women following surgical menopause.