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Hysterectomy among Premenopausal Women and its impact on their Life- Findings from a study in rural parts of India

Author Affiliations

  • 1 Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, INDIA

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 4, Issue (4), Pages 15-22, April,14 (2015)

Abstract

Hysterectomy among premenopausal women is an area of concern as early menopause exposes women to a host of health problems. In India, there have been several news reports from different parts of the country about hysterectomies among young women. This study is based on in depth interviews conducted with 44 women who had undergone hysterectomy and were less than 45 years in age at the time of interview. The study was conducted in the state of Maharashtra which is one of the economically developed states of India. The study delves into the reasons for accepting hysterectomy and understanding women’s perceptions about how hysterectomy has impacted their health. Using Feminist methodology, the study probes the decision making processes before undergoing surgery and the ways in which women cross the gender barriers in accessing health care services. The study found that on one hand women felt relieved from the health problems, but they were also unhappy about losing their body part. In the rural agriculture setting, the gender division of labour is such that women have to perform several tasks to run the household as well as manage the agricultural work. Several women complained about the decline in their work capacity and also regretted the decision of undergoing surgery. Women blamed their circumstances such as obligations of working in fields which could not allow them to take adequate rest after surgery. Yet, it was seen that women were unwilling to share their negative experiences of surgery with other women who were contemplating about hysterectomy. In the rural settings, woman’s contribution to the family labour is essential; however hysterectomy at young age reduces this contribution as it decreases women’s capacity to work. In the context, where spate of hysterectomies is being reported from different parts of India, this study highlights that hysterectomy in premenopausal women is going to become major public health problem in India as all these women are being pushed into early menopause and related health problems. Catering to the needs of these women is going to be a daunting task for the health system in India which is still battling for providing access to basic services such as access to safe abortion services or safe delivery services.

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