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November 2022

Women's control and choice regarding HRT

Journal/Book: Soc Sci Med. 1999; 49: the Boulevard Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford Ox5 1GB, England. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 469-481.

Abstract: The promotion and use of hormone: replacement therapy (HRT) is the focus of much medical activity and a social phenomenon studied by sociology. The decision to prescribe HRT by a doctor may be a response to a woman's distress and is a decision involving uncertainty about risks and benefits. Sociological analysis has seen the promotion and use of HRT as medicalisation of the menopause. Through individual :interviews and focus groups, this study hears from women how they approach the decision to take HRT or not, and what influences them. The interviews reveal how women who dislike medication in general may consider HRT, influenced by fear of ill health which may be enhanced by the experience of illness in the family and by medical advice. For the women the media and their social contacts were the major sources of information about HRT. In the focus groups the women explored the control they had over the choice to take HRT and what limited this control and they explored the uncertainties and complexities of the decision to take HRT or not. This study brings lay women's voices to the debate about the use and promotion of HRT. The results are also used to test the limits of the theory of medicalisation and to inform doctors of the issues women may bring to a consultation about HRT.

Note: Article Griffiths F, Univ Warwick, Primary Care Unit, Postgrad Med Sch, Coventry CV4 7AL, W Midlands, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): women; hormone replacement therapy; medicalisation; primary health care; interview; focus group; HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY; PREVENT DISEASE; MEDICALIZATION; MEDICINE; LIMITS; LIFE

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