PUBLICATION DATE

1998-08

TITLE

Iron deficiency anaemia in women of South Asian descent: a qualitative study.

ISSUE

3

VOLUME

3

ISSN (print)

N/A

ISSN (electronic)

N/A

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Menorrhagia is thought to be the commonest cause of iron deficiency anaemia in women of reproductive age living in Britain. However, it has been suggested that the high prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in women of South Asian descent living in Britain is due to religious and cultural restrictions on certain foods. While lack of iron in the diet, or poor iron absorption may well be reasons for this prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia, there may be other complex reasons why South Asian women suffer particularly from this complaint. This study aimed to explore reasons for the relatively high level of iron deficiency anaemia found in South Asian women living in Britain. METHOD: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with women of Indian and Pakistani descent living in a town in North West England. FINDINGS: It appears that some South Asian women value a relatively heavy menstrual blood flow because such blood is thought to be 'dirty' and 'impure' and because a scanty period is thought to result in abdominal weight gain and pain. When menstrual blood loss is thought to be 'excessive', women tend to avoid 'hot' foods such as meat, fish and eggs, thus denying themselves a valuable source of iron. When South Asian women believe that they have a serious problem of menorrhagia they may not seek medical help because of the shortage of female general practitioners. Poor communication with doctors and other health care professionals may also affect illness behaviour. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that attitudes to menstruation and menstrual blood may help to account for the relatively high levels of iron deficiency anaemia found in women of South Asian descent living in Britain. Since most of the women interviewed during this research had families who came from Gujarat in Western India, more research is needed to explore the values and beliefs of women coming from other parts of Southern Asia.

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    14 TRIPLES      14 PREDICATES      14 URIs      9 LITERALS

    Subject Predicate Object
    1 articles:e2ef49f73251b0264af3af3e717450b0 sg:abstract OBJECTIVE: Menorrhagia is thought to be the commonest cause of iron deficiency anaemia in women of reproductive age living in Britain. However, it has been suggested that the high prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in women of South Asian descent living in Britain is due to religious and cultural restrictions on certain foods. While lack of iron in the diet, or poor iron absorption may well be reasons for this prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia, there may be other complex reasons why South Asian women suffer particularly from this complaint. This study aimed to explore reasons for the relatively high level of iron deficiency anaemia found in South Asian women living in Britain. METHOD: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with women of Indian and Pakistani descent living in a town in North West England. FINDINGS: It appears that some South Asian women value a relatively heavy menstrual blood flow because such blood is thought to be 'dirty' and 'impure' and because a scanty period is thought to result in abdominal weight gain and pain. When menstrual blood loss is thought to be 'excessive', women tend to avoid 'hot' foods such as meat, fish and eggs, thus denying themselves a valuable source of iron. When South Asian women believe that they have a serious problem of menorrhagia they may not seek medical help because of the shortage of female general practitioners. Poor communication with doctors and other health care professionals may also affect illness behaviour. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that attitudes to menstruation and menstrual blood may help to account for the relatively high levels of iron deficiency anaemia found in women of South Asian descent living in Britain. Since most of the women interviewed during this research had families who came from Gujarat in Western India, more research is needed to explore the values and beliefs of women coming from other parts of Southern Asia.
    2 sg:doi 10.1080/13557858.1998.9961862
    3 sg:doiLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13557858.1998.9961862
    4 sg:isFundedPublicationOf grants:1a892c21c10cf787ec3b109fa92fdce7
    5 sg:issue 3
    6 sg:language English
    7 sg:license http://scigraph.springernature.com/explorer/license/
    8 sg:publicationYear 1998
    9 sg:publicationYearMonth 1998-08
    10 sg:scigraphId e2ef49f73251b0264af3af3e717450b0
    11 sg:title Iron deficiency anaemia in women of South Asian descent: a qualitative study.
    12 sg:volume 3
    13 rdf:type sg:Article
    14 rdfs:label Article: Iron deficiency anaemia in women of South Asian descent: a qualitative study.
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