Women's Experience of Perimenopause and Menopause

Wednesday, 15 July 2009: 1:45 PM

Suzanne Marnocha, RN, MSN, PhD
Leona Dempsey, RN, MSN, PhD, APNP
Nursing, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh USA, Oshkosh, WI

Learning Objective 1: describe themes from personal stories of women as they transition through perimenopause and menopause.

Learning Objective 2: describe educational needs of and ways to support women before, during and after perimenopause and menopause.

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to give voice to the perimenopausal and menopausal experiences of mid-life women.

Methods: Twelve women were selected for this descriptive qualitative through a snowball method and asked to participate in the study.  Data were collected through semi-structured questionnaires, and participant drawings of their experience of menopause.  The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim.

Results: Several themes emerged including women's need for information about perimenopause and menopause.  These women reported obtaining support and information from their sisters and particularly their friends, but not their mothers.  Participants also reported performing their own "research" and making personal healthcare decisions.  Additionally, women felt menopause was a "phase of life" and despite some bothersome symptoms, uniformly ended their interviews discussing feelings of growth and positive transition

Conclusion: We believe there are important implications for nurses and  midwives relative to the critical role we play in teaching women and girls healthy outcomes across the life span, as well as teaching older women about expected body changes.