In focusing on individual and physician demographics and system characteristics that lead to hysterectomy rate variations, researchers overlook the impact of culturally mediated meanings women assign to their bodies, hysterectomy, and other treatments. In this study I sought to provide a fuller description of this decision - making process by examining the role of meaning making in women’s decision not to have a hysterectomy. Using a descriptive qualitative approach, nine women diagnosed with menstrual disorders in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada each took part in a semi - structured interview. Factors deemed “irrational” in bio medical understandings of informed choice played a significant role in participants’ decisions not to have a hysterectomy. When these factors are hidden, they cannot be properly addressed during the treatment selection process. By shifting the approach to informed choice to incorporate a holistic view of the body and knowledge, requirements for informed choice may be more likely to be met.


Menstrual Disorders, Treatment Decision - Making, Women’s Health, Descriptive Qualitative Research


This research was supported by funding from the Atlantic Research Training Ce ntre for Health Services Researchers.

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