Original Article | Volume 16 Number 1, 1 Feb 2021

Exploring women’s perceptions and experiences of menopause among East Coast Malaysian women

ABSTRACT
Background: Menopause signifies the beginning of a non-reproductive phase from the reproductive period. Although it is considered a natural life transition, recent studies have indicated that a woman’s menopausal experience may impact her quality of life. While studies have examined
Malaysian women’s knowledge and awareness of menopause, they have focused on the prevalence of menopausal symptoms and sociocultural aspects. These investigations also used a quantitative design that may have limited the information regarding the nature and experience of menopause.
Objectives: This study explores women’s perceptions and understanding of their menopausal experience.
Methods: A total of 20 menopausal women were recruited using purposive sampling through social media in the state of Pahang, Malaysia. In-depth semi-structured interviews were used to explore how they perceived their menopausal experience. The data were then analyzed using thematic
analysis.
Results: Three themes that emerged from the findings included perceptions of menopause, biopsychosocial changes and help-seeking behavior. For many Muslim women, menopause was perceived as a time for them to engage in religious commitment more than they had before.
Conclusion: The study findings uncovered a knowledge gap and a lack of support for women impacted by menopause. Muslim women regarded their menopause phase as a time for them to engage in religious duty fully. These results indicate the need for a psychosocial intervention and educational program to ensure women a better transition throughout their menopausal phase.