Women's hysterectomy experiences and decision-making

Ayse K Uskul, Farah Ahmad, Nicholas A Leyland, Donna E Stewart
Women & Health 2003, 38 (1): 53-67
The goal of the study was to examine women's experiences with gynaecologic symptoms and how they decided to undergo hysterectomy. For this purpose, twenty-nine women were interviewed in hospital within three days of undergoing hysterectomy. The interviews elicited information about the nature of the problem that caused the women to seek medical help, actions taken to solve their problem, their relationship with their gynaecologist, information seeking patterns and decision-making about hysterectomy. Although findings revealed that the symptoms women suffered had a negative impact on their lives, most women delayed seeking medical help and attributed their symptoms to factors other than a physical problem in their reproductive system. Most of the participants' information about the symptoms and possible treatments came from their consulting other women with similar problems. The women reported that their gynaecologist did not initiate a comprehensive discussion about other treatments and their advantages and disadvantages. Only women who had informed themselves about other treatments actively discussed alternatives to hysterectomy with their physicians. The women's decision-making process about undergoing hysterectomy was difficult and depended primarily on the women's illness experiences, age, wish for future children, information they gathered from their gynaecologist and from other women. The findings are discussed in relation to the importance of information provision by gynaecologists and its effects on women's decision-making about hysterectomy.

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