Parkinson's disease: the effects on womanhood

Nurs Stand. 2003 Jul;17(42):33-9. doi: 10.7748/ns.17.42.33.s57.


Aim: To understand how women with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience and cope with menstruation, associated gynaecological problems and adjustments to womanhood.

Method: In-depth case studies were completed with 19 women who told their stories using a combination of interviews, group interviews, reflective diaries and creative writing.

Results: The data revealed that most (n = 16, 83 per cent) of the women associated PD with a worsening of their menstruation problems. There was a general perception that interaction with doctors and nurses focused on drug efficacy and mobility. Distressing practical problems associated with menstruation, relationships and sexual problems were rarely addressed.

Conclusion: Women in this study experienced emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, pain and increased severity of menstrual problems after the onset of PD. The findings not only challenge nurses to find new ways of working to ensure best practice, but also to access expert care and support for these women.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Menstruation
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / prevention & control*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women / psychology*
  • Women's Health*