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Were you in the dark about menopause?

Menopause is a change experienced by half the population, yet its symptoms, treatments, and impacts are rarely discussed in public.

It can occur as early as your 30s or as late as your 60s. The average age of menopause is 51, though it varies widely from woman to woman.

The combined forces of ageism and sexism mean for many the menopause is still a taboo. We’re familiar with the old tropes of a woman experiencing hot flushes, but what goes beyond it remains an unknown for many.

As a result, many women come to the menopause completely unprepared and then bear the burden in silence. Many women report even feeling let down by their GPs – who either don’t take their concerns seriously or can’t provide a solution to help when they do.

When it comes to “the change”, it’s not just physical – menopause can also represent a huge shift in identity and mental wellbeing.

A study from the British Menopause Society found 46% of women said they had hot flushes while 37% had night sweats. 51% of women said it impacted their sex lives. 26% said they felt less outgoing in social situation and 32% said they no longer felt like good company.

The symptoms are extensive. Sleep problems, hot flushes and chills, changes in mood, weight gain, thinning of hair, loss of libido, dry skin, aches and pains and night blindness can all be traced back to the menopause.

For a quarter of women, these symptoms will last up to 15 years.

In recent years, grassroots campaigns have worked to get more media attention for menopause and to break down taboos.

Some have even set up their own support groups, where women in the community can come together and talk openly and honestly about their experiences, and share their knowledge with others.

What’s been your experience of the menopause? Were you in the dark about what to expect? Do you feel you got the right support to navigate this phase?

Vote in our poll and share your experiences below.

Were you in the dark about menopause?

38 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

What are your views?

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Libbygayler
3 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
I was not in the dark. Have been going through mixed symptoms for last 10years, never realised though, it would last so long. Have not resorted to HRT though. Most difficult has been trying to do a full time stressful job at the same time as dealing with symptoms. Can deal with physical better than the mental issues. Currently trying to deal with very low moods and anxiety, where I've always been a positive and confident person, these moods are hard to deal with. Concentration and memory is also a problem. I always wear layers of clothes! I’m 60 this year, so hoping it will end soon. The best way to deal with it.... chat to others going through the same and laugh about it together
SueC62
13th Apr 2018
1
Thanks for voting!
Even though I wasn't 'in the dark', some of the symptoms were a shock, unpleasant and soul destroying. Some, like 'fizzy', sensitive finger tips and the severe deja vu I occasionally experienced (I once went to the library to find I'd read every book....) I didn't immediately identify as a symptom of the menopause. Overall it was a bad and dark period in my life and in the end I went on HRT, fully aware of the risk. I was only on it for a few years and believe it was the best thing for me. I couldn't have continued to function without it. I've come through the menopause a very happy, contented person,
Lionel
13th Apr 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
The menopause is as much a conundrum for men as women.

My first wife was brought up in a tightly regulated Methodist regime, the sort of thing would be labelled child abuse in these more liberal days. She was taught that all and any of her bodily functions were private and not to be discussed even with her husband.

Similarly, however curious I might have been there were no answers and no forewarning of what effect the menopause could have on her when it hit in her early forties.

Already a depressive her menopause hit rapidly and with ferocious effects, none of which I understood or attributed to that mystical word menopause. Living with a severe depressive is almost impossible when a living must be made. Living with a menopausal severe depressive is utterly impossible without understanding of what is happening to her.

The Sixties were a fantastic time to have one's teenage years. Yet, with hindsight, a little more openness between the sexes would have made my subsequent life much more possible.

My second wife had an easy time. At the beginning she talked me through it, explained what could happen and how I should deal with it. The few menopausal effects she did have were easily managed because she had been open with me.
Lionel
1 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
It seems the idea of sharing before a crisis hits is not popular.

Sharing afterwards isn't popular with me.
Clarite
13th Apr 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
It certainly came as a shock to me, I did not expect the changes that I would have to make in my life to deal with the mind and body altering effects the menopause has on me. It started at age 51 and 10 years later, I'm still suffering but I've learned not to push myself when I just feel like having a day off. I've always been active and ate well, even so, I've had to cut out all sugars, coffee and many other 'heaty' elements out of my life. I'm taking it one day at a time and always look at what I can still do and can still eat rather than what I can't do or eat anymore. Best wishes to all.
Margaret2009
13th Apr 2018
4
Thanks for voting!
The Menopause is a natural stage in female aging. It is a normal part of life, no different from the menstrual cycle but the symptoms are different. There is so much women can do to help themselves without relying on HRT from their GP. Look at your diet, exercise, if you smoke stop, try to avoid alcohol as this often makes hot flushes worse as the Liver works hard to break the substance down. Get out more and embrace the simple pleasures in life. Stop worrying about the things you cannot change, look at ways round the problem.
At 63 I still have hot flushes and night sweats, the dry hair and skin is improving as I spend more time in treating them. I delight in waking pain-free most days, caring for my home, walking the dog in the countryside and meeting friends and family for tea and a chat. Try looking at what you can do rather than "can no longer do." The future really is bright.
Alicia
12th Apr 2018
2
Thanks for voting!
Nothing to discuss, I sailed through it with no problems !
MrsPat
12th Apr 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
There are aspects of it that I was unaware of. It strikes women at differnt times. I am over it now thank goodnesss but had years of being too hot at night and feeling uncomfortable
jorid
12th Apr 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
Sorry no i was not in the dark. I expecy my body to change!!! Male or female we change all our lives to a certain degree.
I had 3 sons and boy when they reached adolesence (all at different ages too) i thought aliens had sprinkled moondust down to hit kids and turn them into less than human. ha ha.
Now i like my body it is my responsibility so do not leave things to others to look after (docs) ect. Yep i know they have a place BUT only when it is gone past myself.
I have had friends who seem to have had terrible times I have told them of the natural tabs i took to lesson symptoms but do realize some have needed more help. HRT (warning) can have seriouse side effects for those not told.
Keep fit programmes, walking, talking can all help, but i do feel most women these days Know there bods are going to change. Sometimes polls give wrong impressions too
jeanmark
12th Apr 2018
1
Thanks for voting!
I had not choice but to take HRT as I had to have a hysterectomy and both ovaries removed at the age of 27 years. The risk of osteoporosis far outweighed the risks of HRT which I took for 3o+ years with no problem. I was made fully aware of all issues relating to the menopause and HRT because of my age. I have to agree Jorid that I am surprised if a modern woman isn't aware of what changes to expect.
jorid
13th Apr 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
I am sorry about your early need for HRT jeanmark, that was an unexpected trial life threw at you. Also glad the HRT perscribed for you suited your body.
jeanmark
13th Apr 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
Thank you jorid and as you well know, we often have unexpected trials thrown at us but we survive.
ArchieUK
12th Apr 2018
2
Thanks for voting!
Men also have a menopausal period in their life but does anyone care. NO, men are expected to get on with their lives.
2
Thanks for voting!
You may be interested in this feature about the Andropause, the male equivalent: https://www.silversurfers.com/health/health-features/the-andropause/ 🙂 Sally
jorid
6 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
Well i have waited for others to reply to you first but O nil Archie. Yes men do go through changes in their life too. We all go through many changes, midlife is no exception for men or women.
I have heard many things of late discussed about mens symptoms in midlife also when wife having babies, in sympathy some symptoms funny we humans one way or another.
Pam1960
11th Apr 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
I'm still in the dark about it now and I am going through it at least I think I have for the past 10 years. I seem to have got off quite lightly as I haven't had any problems that have impacted on my daily life.. After years of always being cold I can actually get away without having the heating on all the time. I occasionally get a hot flush but that tends to be if I have been doing physical work. I've never slept well so no change there. I wouldn't say I get night sweats but I do find me feet get hot. I don't take anything for it as I don't find it a problem. I didn't know what to expect as it seems to affect everyone differently. The only women I know who have suffered have all had hysterectomies which brought on early menopause, maybe there is a connection or maybe I have just been lucky
Margaret Hart
11th Apr 2018
1
Thanks for voting!
Although I’ve said no I believe all,or us were to a certain extent as it is an unknown quantity. Everybody is different and can be affected in many different ways. Then if it was bad there was medication but that made some people worse with all the side affects. Some very lucky people weren’t affected at all and even thought others were making it up but they weren’t. I was having a period all the time which of course was making me ill and the specialist decided to remove the inside of my womb and it had to be done twice to make it a success and I went straight into the menopause which was not expected so in that way it was a shock but I knew what it was. I couldn’t take the medication and had a pretty rough time but that’s in the past now.
kentrix39
11th Apr 2018
0
Thanks for voting!

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