March 6, 2008

Coping with Menopause in Rural Areas

A report published in The Journal of Advanced Nursing found that women living in rural areas may have extra pressures in coping with menopause, including “geographical isolation, lack of confidentiality and anonymity, stress from multiple roles (including caring for aging relatives), poverty and limited health care and support services”

The study was only of 25 women, but the findings make sense. Limited access to doctors, support groups and factual information can make any condition or disease more stressful. Sheri L. Price, a nurse researcher who specializes in women’s health at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, suggests some very practical solutions to scarce health care resources:

“One solution may be for advanced practice nurses or nurse practitioners – who have received additional training in women’s health – to offer holistic care and comprehensive support to rural women going through the menopause,” says Sheri Price. “This would enhance the women’s well-being as they go through menopause and enable them to optimise their health as they age.

“Another option may be to train female community leaders to deliver local information sessions and help to set up support groups. Community leaders with personal menopausal experiences would also be able to offer further validation and support to women.”

Such low-cost solutions aren’t groundbreaking, either, but they reinforce the need for grassroots community involvement in any comprehensive health care program.

For more on addressing menopause, check out the information on midlife and menopause from Our Bodies Ourselves.


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