Did you know that 73% of women who experience menopause in the United States do not treat their symptoms? While over in the United Kingdom, surveys show that 1 in 4 women actually consider resigning during menopause. Sadly, that means there are huge numbers of women around the globe suffering the debilitating effects of anxiety, sleeplessness and hot flashes alone and in silence.
For most women, menopause simply hasn’t been an accessible topic. It wasn’t discussed at home, at school or growing up and this may explain the reluctance to acknowledge and treat symptoms.
The lack of information surrounding menopause means it is often clouded by fear and shame. I didn’t realise what menopause meant for women until my wife Alka experienced the whole gamut of menopausal symptoms.
For my wife, like most other women, the symptoms of menopause were often irrational and unexplainable. Seeing my wife going through the severity of symptoms from anxiety to sleeplessness and hot flashes was a turning point.
It was then that I realised, even though I have spent years studying and practicing health, there was so much more I needed to understand about the impact of menopause. As a health professional, I have often asked myself why menopause became the stage of life that we chose to ignore?
Isn’t it time we recognised that menopause is a very normal part of life that every woman will experience? It’s only when we, as a community, recognise and acknowledge menopause as a stage of life that we will be able to give the support, care and understanding to the women in our lives who are living through it.
The good news is that attitudes towards menopause are slowly changing. Today, we know so much more about menopause and how it affects women; we know that treatments are not a one-size-fits all, but that it will be an incredibly different experience for every single woman.
Some women report perimenopause as the start of feelings of distress – for others the menopause can be extremely traumatic. There also cases where women believed they were suffering from early on-set dementia until a medical diagnosis proved they were actually suffering from menopause.
Other women have felt little or no change in their disposition throughout menopause. For my wife, whose symptoms were distressingly on-going, a range of all natural menopause treatments and organic herbals teas really did help to ease her symptoms; especially the night sweats, hot flashes and anxiety.
For many women it can be an anxious and relentless time. That’s why it’s important to talk about it – to your friends, to your partner and your family. Reach out for support and most importantly seek the help and advice of your health care practitioner to find out the best treatment options for you.
While menopause may have passed you by (or you may be going through it now), it’s up to us as parents and grandparents to start the menopause conversation with the women in our life.
Our generation can take the lead and normalise this conversation, and as we do that, we will encourage schools to open up the dialogue and talk openly about menopause. When we encourage the conversation at school, in our community and across our society we will create a platform for women to openly share their menopause journey.
By doing this we will create an opportunity for the young women of the future to access accurate information about menopause and encourage further studies into the menopause stage of life. In the end, don’t we all want to see a world that celebrates women in all the stages of their life?
Which menopause symptom is/was hardest on you? How did you get through it? Where did you look for support? Do you think there is a lot more to be said about menopause?