Chang­ing times

Menopause re­ally shouldn’t be seen as the last taboo

Cotswold Life - - HEALTH NEWS -

Menopause di­rectly af­fects ap­prox­i­mately 50% of the pop­u­la­tion but it will cer­tainly have an im­pact on the other 50% and that’s why we all need to talk about it. Of­ten called the last taboo, reg­u­larly the butt of jokes and still re­ferred to as the change, this nat­u­ral stage in a woman’s life can have dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects for those who strug­gle with de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms.

Menopause is of­ten as­so­ci­ated with hot flushes and night sweats but for many women it’s the men­tal and emo­tional symp­toms that creep up on them. Low mood, anx­i­ety, foggy brain and for­get­ful­ness can all con­trib­ute to a loss of self con­fi­dence and self es­teem.

Ap­prox­i­mately three in four women ex­pe­ri­ence symp­toms rang­ing from mild through to those that can se­ri­ously im­pact on qual­ity of life. Home, work and re­la­tion­ships can all be af­fected and too many women are suf­fer­ing in si­lence. Those that do seek help are of­ten left frus­trated and dis­ap­pointed when doc­tors mis­take menopausal symp­toms for de­pres­sion and pre­scribe anti de­pres­sants rather than dis­cuss ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ments such as HRT.

There is still much fear and con­fu­sion around the sub­ject of hor­mone re­place­ment ther­apy amongst both doc­tors and women and 67% of women re­cently sur­veyed said there was a gen­eral lack of sup­port or ad­vice for those go­ing through menopause.

The work­place presents yet an­other chal­lenge, in the Nuffield sur­vey 9 out of 10 women felt they could not ap­proach their man­ager to talk about menopause. 18% said they had needed to take time off, 1 in 50 was on long term sick leave. No less than 10% of women se­ri­ously con­sid­ered giv­ing up work due to their symp­toms.

Per­sonal re­la­tion­ships can suf­fer and part­ners of­ten strug­gle to un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing. Many women re­port that their sex lives are af­fected by their symp­toms and com­mu­ni­ca­tion of­ten breaks down at this dif­fi­cult time.

Menopause can rep­re­sent an op­por­tu­nity to look ahead to the next phase of life but women need to be given more in­for­ma­tion about their menopause to em­power them to make in­formed de­ci­sions about their treat­ment op­tions and em­brace the fu­ture.

Menopause can rep­re­sent an op­por­tu­nity to look ahead to the next phase of life

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