Although Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB) can have serious medical consequences and significantly impacts daily life, the overall trend is that most women do not seek care for these symptoms. The objective of this review was to synthesise factors impeding women’s access care for AUB.
Systematic literature review of qualitative studies (interview and focus group) regarding the lived in experiences of women with abnormal menstrual symptoms, followed by a thematic analysis of these studies. We screened CINAHL, SCOPUS, ProQuest, OVID and Pubmed for qualitative studies. Studies were assessed using the Clinical Appraisal Skills Programme checklist and thematic synthesis was used to develop themes from the findings of the studies.
The review yielded 12 studies that satisfied the inclusion criteria. Three themes were developed that described barriers for women seeking care for AUB: health literacy (understanding of normal periods, role of cervical Pap smears and lack of access to appropriate information), taboo/normalisation (fear and embarrassment of symptoms, prioritising others) and health care provider (lack of accessible and trusted female GPs and poor experiences with GPs).
For 20 years women have consistently reported poor experiences in accessing care for AUB. The findings from our review indicate that drivers to impeding access are multiple; therefore any approaches to improve access will need to be multi-level – from comprising local sociocultural considerations to improved GP training.