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Title: Informed choice? : popular concepts on the use of herbal medicines by women during the menopause
Author: Bunsiriluck, Supaporn
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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Herbal medicines are one of the oldest forms of medical treatment, and many people believe they provide a more natural and holistic approach towards health care. Consumers often purchase herbal medicines and food supplements to relieve minor symptoms without necessarily consulting a physician, their decisions based on the information available to them which may not be accurate or complete. One of the most popular reasons for taking herbal medicines and food supplements is the menopause. Although a natural event rather than an illness, the hormonal changes that accompany the menopause can produce a range of symptoms which may be considered a suitable condition for self-treatment. Whilst severe symptoms can be managed with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), it is not considered a suitable treatment for most patients due to its inherent risks. Women may explore the use of herbal medicines based on a view that these are more 'natural' and 'safer' than HRT; however, safety is not guaranteed and without access to reliable and comprehensive information, women make decisions based on their own understanding. In other words they rely on 'herbalmedicine- in-the-menopause' heuristics, but this can lead to erroneous judgments. This thesis first examines attitudes towards herbal use among menopausal women as evidenced in the literature. Three main categories capture women's decision making in this area: 1) optimism about herbal medicines; 2) pessimism about HRT and the medical treatment of the menopause; 3) cure-control with herbal medicines. In addition, interviews using vignettes further explore the existence of a heuristic driving the use of herbs in the menopause. A number of dominant categories were found to arise from this work, which encapsulated women's attitudes towards herbal medicines in the menopause, and related specifically to: (i) perception of menopause; (ii) the use of herbal medicine for coping with menopausal symptoms; (iii) wariness towards treatment use during menopause; and (iv) relationships with, and women's expectation from GPs about herbal usage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available