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Poll: Why many women don’t talk about menopause

"Menopause is a transition, one that is to be celebrated."



By Robert Knight, 72Point

Half of women who've been through menopause initially kept it secret from their partner - with a fifth not confiding in anyone at all at first, according to research from the UK.

The poll, of 2,000 UK women, found that 43 percent of those who’ve gone or are going through menopause or pre-menopause felt "completely alone."

Beautiful middle age woman wearing stripes sweater over isolated background hand on mouth telling secret rumor, whispering malicious talk conversation
Talking helps: The positives of menopause include no more periods, an end to PMS, and no longer having to buy and wear sanitary products.
(Shift Drive/Shutterstock)

Nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) didn’t discuss their condition with another female relative and 77 percent didn’t even tell their mother.

While 60 percent didn’t open up to friends and 76 percent didn’t consult a healthcare professional.

For 25 percent, the difficulty in opening up is partly because they perceive, or fear that others perceive, the subject to be taboo.

While 10 percent of the 1,378 females polled, who have gone through menopause, admitted they didn’t want it to happen so simply ‘pretended’ it wasn’t.

Commissioned by TENA, which has launched its #LastLonelyMenopause campaign, the research found 39 percent of those yet to reach this stage of their lives are ‘dreading’ it.

Lisa Snowdon, who is backing the campaign by the incontinence product makers, said: “It’s no wonder the word ‘menopause’ sparks fear in the hearts and minds of women across the globe.

“Synonymous with ‘middle age,' in a society where ageism is rife; menopause is not celebrated. It’s seen as the beginning of a decline.

“For too long women experiencing menopause have suffered in silence, alone and fearful of what is to come.”

“Together, by discussing menopause with our daughters, nieces, mothers, grandmothers, friends, and partners, we can end the cycle of loneliness and tackle the education gap.”

While discussing the condition may fill many of those polled with dread, there is some good news - 47 percent of those who’ve gone through menopause also said there are benefits.

The research carried out through OnePoll found these positives include no more periods (83 percent), an end to premenstrual syndrome (52 percent) and no longer having to buy and wear sanitary products.

While four in 10 enjoy having sex without worrying about contraception.

But 71 percent of all women polled feel these positive aspects are not voiced about enough.

Stefanie Steegs, of TENA, has created an online guide to encourage people to talk about the menopause, said: “For too long, the menopause has been pushed aside or not spoken of openly enough in society, and rarely in a positive light.

“While it’s important that our campaign explores the lesser-known and challenging impacts of menopause, we want to end the silence around it and flip the clichés on their head.

“Our ‘Infrequently Asked Questions’ guide helps us do this and encourages and facilitates the passing down of menopausal knowledge and wisdom.”

Dr. Jane Davis, GP and menopause expert, Board Member of the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum, added: “What really jumps out to me about the #lastlonelymenopause campaign is that it strikes at the heart of the issue of taboo around menopause. It’s about not being embarrassed to talk about it.

"The mother-daughter story is one heard over and over again, ‘My mom never told me what the menopause was like’. It is getting better in terms of conversations, but there is more to be done.

“As the campaign says, menopause is like ‘shedding a skin’ - and it’s there that the hope lies.

"Menopause is a transition, one that is to be celebrated."

“It’s all about supporting each other, opening up those intergenerational conversations and also not being afraid to ask for help from your healthcare professional. That’s what we’re here for.

"Don’t make menopause a lonely place for you and others - open up those conversations.”

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