Primary care practitioners’ experiences of peri/menopause help-seeking among ethnic minority women
MacLellan J., Dixon S., Bi S., Toye F., McNiven A.
Background: Each woman’s experience of the peri/menopause is individual and unique. Research shows ethnic minority women often have different experiences from their white peers, and these are not being considered in conversations about the menopause. Ethnic minority women already face barriers to help-seeking in primary care, and clinicians have expressed challenges in cross cultural communication including the risk that ethnic minority women’s peri/menopause health needs are not being met. Aim: To explore primary care practitioners’ experiences of peri/menopause help-seeking among ethnic minority women. Design and setting: Qualitative study design in the primary care setting of England, with PPI consultations. Methods: We sampled 46 primary care practitioners across 35 practices in England. Using an exploratory approach, we conducted online/telephone interviews and analysed the data thematically. We presented our findings to three groups of ethnic minority women, to inform our interpretation of the data. Results: Practitioners described lack of awareness of peri/menopause among many ethnic minority women which they felt impacted their help-seeking and communication of their symptoms. Cultural expressions of embodied experiences could offer challenges to practitioners to ‘join the dots’ and interpret experiences through a holistic menopause care lens. Our groups of ethnic minority women illustrated the practitioner findings with examples from their own experiences. Conclusion: There is need for increased awareness and trustworthy information resources to help ethnic minority women prepare for the menopause, and clinicians to recognise their experiences and offer support. This could improve women’s immediate quality of life and potentially reduce future disease risk.