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.
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