Chapple, Alison, Ling, Margaret and May, Carl
General practitioners’ perceptions of the illness behaviour and health needs of South Asian women with Menorrhagia
Ethnicity and Health, 3, (1-2), . (doi:10.1080/13557858.1998.9961851).
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Objectives: A study of general practitioners' (GPs) perceptions of the health needs of women of South Asian descent who suffer from menorrhagia.
Method: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with 50 GPs in two British towns.
Findings: This study suggests that some women of South Asian descent may not consult their GPs even though suffering severe menorrhagia. Moreover, some GPs perceive that women may suffer from anaemia as the result of such illness behaviour. One reason for this reluctance to consult for menorrhagia may be the fact that some women of South Asian descent prefer to be examined by female doctors, yet may attend practices that lack a female partner. The study also shows that South Asian women, who consult male GPs for menorrhagia, are sometimes referred to hospital outpatients without internal examinations, and that women may be reluctant to keep their hospital appointments because of the lack of female gynaecologists. The study also indicates that a shortage of female interpreters may make communication difficult between some health care professionals and their patients, particularly when a complex and sensitive subject such as menorrhagia needs to be discussed.
Conclusion: Women of South Asian descent may suffer serious problems such as iron deficiency anaemia, partly due to untreated menorrhagia. Since this was a study of GPs' perceptions of the health needs of South Asian women, it is now important to interview women themselves, to learn more about their perceptions of menorrhagia, and their perceptions of any subsequent contact with health care professionals.
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