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Managing Menopause

Menopause: how to see the positives

Jo Ilott and Sarah Leroux (pictured)

Co-founders of Did someone say menopause?

The stereotypical image of post-menopausal women being ‘dried up’ and ‘past it’ no longer applies. Media coverage is helping women to finally talk, accept help and bring about a wave of positive change.

Times are changing

By 2020, for the first time in history, there will be more people on the planet over 65 than under 5. In 2018, the office of national statistics put a women’s average life expectancy at 82.9; it is quite plausible that we are the first generation of women to spend nearer half of our lives post-menopausal.

With this ever-expanding, aging population, the definition of ‘old’ is changing – and so are perceptions. The post-menopausal woman has in the past been seen negatively both by women themselves, and also by society. These women are often depicted as sad, grey, isolated and barren, with media photos showing women wistfully staring into the middle distance dreaming of the good old days.

But, women are talking and these negative images are changing!

There is no doubt that the menopause is a natural phase that every woman will enter, but being ‘natural’ does not necessarily mean straightforward.

Menopause is natural…

There is no doubt that the menopause is a natural phase that every woman will enter, but being ‘natural’ does not necessarily mean straightforward and women often endure debilitating symptoms of night sweats, insomnia, hot flushes, low mood and mind fog sometimes resulting in depression, the breaking down of relationships, and absence from work.

Recent media coverage of the menopause and its treatment, including HRT, have meant that more women are feeling empowered to reach out for help and visit their health care professionals whilst being better informed about their options. In turn, doctors and nurses are having to keep up with current research around HRT and the treatments available to meet the expectations and growing demand from women who no longer wish to stay silent.

Women are now beginning to feel more in control of their menopause rather than ‘it’ controlling them.

Women in the workplace

Women now comprise 47% of the workforce, which confronts the old-age belief that post-menopausal women are no longer important and useful… proving there is more to life than reproducing!

Women are challenging the menopausal stereotypes of aging with their wisdom, experience, intellect and value to society. Employers will need to adapt their workplace policies and work environments to enable women to navigate their way through this often-difficult time and thus respecting the valuable contribution women in this age group make when compared to their younger counterparts.

New beginnings…

The menopause can be liberating – no more bleeding, no more PMS, no more contraception. Women in their 50’s are starting new businesses, taking up running, embracing their wrinkles or erasing them with injectables. It doesn’t matter how women wish to lead their lives, what matters is that women are respected and accepted in our society and are given choices through better education, research and the development of safer hormone therapies ultimately giving women the freedom to lead their best lives.

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