張玨 (Institute of Public Health, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University)、張菊惠(Institute of Public Health, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University)
Medicalization of Women's Health: Menopause/climacteric as an Example
Chueh Chang (Institute of Public Health, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University)、Chu-hui Chang(Institute of Public Health, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University)
Health care was a major concern of second wave feminists in Northern America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. ” Medicalization ” has been one of most frequently critic issues in women’s health movement. In nowadays, although women can obtain health care but they do not ensure to control over their health. The medical professional’s domination denies of the right that women themselves should participate in important decisions about their own lives. Much worse, “medicalization” even invades into women’ daily life, and makes all healthy women become patients. Few public funding supports women’s health promotion, most money goes to the medical treatment development.
The issue of “medicalization” has been neglected in Taiwan. All the government, the public (women), and the medical field rarely mentioned about this important issue. They even claim that they provide better health care through medicalization. Due to the negligence and inadequacy on the issue of “medicalization” in Taiwan people, the authors took the new emerging issue “the menopause” to examine on whether it was medicalized or not in current Taiwan society.
Based on the multimethods triangulation analysis, the authors used the following data to delineate the medicalization. (1) Two questionnaire surveys on the women’s menopausal attitudes conducted in 1991-1992 and 1997. (2) Content analysis of the newspaper’s titles reported on menopause and hormone during Jan, 1996 to Dee, 1997. (3) In-depth interviews of two female gynecologists and two female patients.
Results showed that there did have a tendency of “medicalization” on “menopause”. The physicians were interested in promoting the effectiveness of hormone therapy but neglected the side effects. The women tended to believe that menopause was a disease. There are still rooms for discussion and debates, if we here in Taiwan do care for women’s health and make it a significant political reality. We need to take more collective action to promote women’s health through consciousness raising and policy reform. We need more studies on medicalization to avoid medical abuses.
women's health, menopause, medicalization, hormone replacement therapy