‘It should be more outspoken and not hushed away, not like put in a dark box’: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of experiences of menopause voiced by women with learning disabilities
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Background: There is little research into experiences of menopause voiced by women with learning disabilities, who can be neglected in academic research. There is a particular lack of knowledge around the psychological and social experiences of menopause in this population, and how changes are managed. This study sought to explore these experiences. Methods: Experiences of five women with lived experience of menopause, being seen by community National Health Services specialising in learning disabilities, were captured with semistructured interviews and analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis. Findings: Five superordinate themes were identified, involving the importance of having information about menopause, challenges of periods, observable changes in menopause, the importance of social connection, and managing menopause independently. Conclusions: This study highlights the need for clinicians and carers to understand the variety of impacts menopause can have on women with learning disabilities, including emotional and social aspects, and the need to initiate conversations regarding menopause and available treatments.
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