Experience of Palestinian Women After Hysterectomy Using a Descriptive Phenomenological Study
Eman Alshawish1, *, Shurouq Qadous1, Miss Ala'a Yamani1
1 Department of Nursing and Midwifery, An-Najah National University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Nablus, Palestine
Universally, hysterectomy is considered as the second most frequent surgery after cesarean section performed on women in the reproductive age. After a hysterectomy, women no longer have menstrual periods, so they cannot become pregnant. Like most other countries, hysterectomy is the most common major gynecological operation in Palestine. However, the psychological, physical, and sexual consequences of hysterectomy are conflicting, and the findings are mixed. While some studies report that patients experience more significant improvement in their mental health, sexual desire, and overall satisfaction, other studies show that patients report various adverse outcomes, with detrimental effects on sexual functioning being the main concern.
This study aimed to describe women's experiences of hysterectomy and identify their fears, concerns, and what coping mechanisms do they adopt to enhance the quality of their lives.
Qualitative descriptive phenomenological research design was used in this study. The study aims to gain insight into the experiences of fifteen patients after hysterectomy using semi-structured in-depth interviews. The interview was conducted in both private and governmental hospitals using purposeful sampling.
Giorgi's phenomenological analysis process was used as a tool for analyzing data. Analysis of the interview transcripts led to five themes, including a total of eighteen subthemes. The first theme is physical change that has pain, insomnia, eating habits, and immobility as subthemes. The second theme is psychological changes with depression, de-socialization, anxiety, and aggressiveness as its subthemes. The third theme is defense mechanisms with praying, listening to music, reciting the Holy Quran, walking, and sports as subthemes. The fourth theme is self-esteem and body image with confidence, appearance, and concerns as subthemes. Lastly, the fifth them is sexuality with excitement and sexual pattern as subthemes.
The results of this study demonstrated that hysterectomy had significant adverse effects on patients' body image, and self-esteem. Moreover, the study identified common meanings and themes associated with hysterectomy stressors. These are difficulties or limitations in physical and psychological aspects perceived by patients after hysterectomy. The health care provider must be aware of these potentially problematic issues to provide competent health care.
Keywords: Quality of life, Women´s health, Hysterectomy, Qualitative research, Phenomenology, Sexual function, Self-esteem, Body image.
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* Department of Nursing and Midwifery, An-Najah National University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Nablus, Palestine; Tel: 00972595778058; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org